Reading Spenser: The Faerie Queene and Medieval Allegory

Literature | Religious Studies & Theology

Course Description

Written during the reign of Elizabeth Tudor, Edmund Spenser’s (1553-1599) opus, The Faerie Queene, seeks to allegorize traits held by the Virgin Queen and her court. It attempts to present an important message about topics like friendship, justice, and courtesy, to name but a few, while also giving pleasure to the reader. Using mythology, Spenser weaves a complex narrative of moral lessons with knights in shining armour. He also presents a veiled commentary on the political and religious affairs of the Tudor Period. Throughout this course, we will read large sections of The Faerie Queene, while also exploring some of Spenser’s other poetic works. 

Questions raised will include: What role does allegory play in Spenser? How do our moral ideals relate to each other? For example, can you be both just and courteous? Can you have too much temperance? Does chastity affect sexual desire? How does violence connect to morals for Spenser? What role do women play in Spenser’s works? How is love portrayed in his poems? What political views did Spenser hold of Queen and Court?

Books to Purchase (will be available at Argo Bookshop during the weeks prior to the course beginning):

    • Edmund's Spenser's Poetry (Norton Critical Edition) (ISBN: 9780393927856)

Please note that this course has a maximum enrollment of 14 students.

NEW PAYMENT POLICY: Participants must pay the course fees in order to be considered registered for the course. 

For fully registered courses, a waiting list will be created. Should vacancies develop, those on the waiting list will be contacted on a first-come, first-served basis.

Please note that we do not allow participants to audit courses for free.

Course Details

Location: Atwater or Zoom

First Session: Monday 13 March 2023

Course Length: 12 weeks, Mondays, 1:30 to 3:30 p.m.

Discussion Team: Jerrolyn Dietrich, Zoe Shaw, Joseph Vietri

Degree Credit: 3.0 credits

Course Fee: 

$150.00 (standard tuition)

$100.00 (promotion for new students)

Administrative Fee:



$185.00 (standard tuition)

$135.00 (promotion for new students)


Course fees are refundable in full before the second session. After the second session, a fee of $50 for the withdrawal will be applied. Refunds will not be issued after the third session. Please note that non-attendance does not constitute a withdrawal.

Students pursuing studies for credit are encouraged to consult with their advisers as they register for courses.

Course leaders, and students wishing to use credit vouchers, should call (514) 935-9585 to pay by phone or to schedule an appointment to pay in person.

Fill the following form to register

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