Books I Loathed discussion

17th century religious poetry

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message 1: by Sarah (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:58PM) (new)

Sarah (songgirl7) The Faerie Queene and Paradise Lost. Loathe and loathe. Thoughts?

message 2: by Rindis (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:59PM) (new)

Rindis | 18 comments All I know is that The Faerie Queene is the basis for de Camp and Pratt's "The Mathematics of Magic", my favorite of the Harold Shea stories.

So I haven't read it, but my world would be poorer without it.

message 3: by Jason (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:59PM) (new)

Jason (gireesh42) I'm not going to try to defend these, since I completely understand that they are acquired tastes, especially the Faerie Queene. Difficult to get into, though I love them

However, I must correct a few things:
The Faerie Queene is not 17C, it is late 16C, making it a predecessor to Milton, not a contemporary.
Also, it is not strictly "religious poetry."

Rindis, you raise a great point for the lay reader: Fantasy fans owe huge debts to Spenser. Read my review of the Faerie Queene.

message 4: by Sarah (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:59PM) (new)

Sarah (songgirl7) The Faerie Queene NOT religious poetry? I understand that it's a love letter to Elizabeth, but it's also all about religion. Each knight personifying one of the Christian values, the castle of the seven deadly sins, etc...

message 5: by Jason (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:59PM) (new)

Jason (gireesh42) I said not *strictly* religious. Of course it has huge religious themes, but to reduce it to that is to oversimplify and lose sight of a lot of other interesting issues. It is a "dark allegory," which only serves to complicate any straight reading applied to it.

Also, each knight represents a virtue, not necessarily Christian:
Book I: Holiness
Book II: Temperance
Book III: Chastity
Book IV: Friendship
Book V: Justice
Book VI: Courtesy

Only Justice and Temperance belong to the Seven Holy Virtues of the church, which are:
Prudence, Justice, Fortitude, Temperance, Faith, Hope and Love.

Of course, I'm sure the church advocates these other virtues, but Spenser cites Aristotle as his source. What's more, Arthur--who appears in every book, but does not have his own story--is supposed to represent the virtue of "Magnificence." Whatever that means...

message 6: by Jason (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:59PM) (new)

Jason (gireesh42) Sorry to put a damper on your bashing. By all means, continue! I just felt obligated to make sure no inaccuracies were perpetuated.

message 7: by Norman (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:59PM) (new)

Norman (normanince) | 48 comments My middle name is Arthur, and though I'd never before associated this name with any virtue, I'll henceforth slip 'magnificence' into any written correspondence I sign or cocktail conversation I engage in. Employers will be knocking down my door; women will swoon.

My whole life will change. Thanks, Jason!

message 8: by Norman (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:59PM) (new)

Norman (normanince) | 48 comments More to the point of this thread, I don't really loathe The Faerie Queen - it just bores me and I lose interest. Paradise Lost I studied in university, and it was that situation. I don't know whether I'd pick it up again to read from cover to cover by myself, but I can still flip through it and enjoy several passages.

In today's rush-rush world, we sorely lack the amount of time and concentration needed to read texts like these. Join a convent or a monastery and THEN pick up these texts. Ahhh...

message 9: by Rindis (last edited Aug 25, 2016 02:00PM) (new)

Rindis | 18 comments Actually, Jason, while you have a good point, I was being much more direct. "The Mathematics of Magic" largely happens in the world of The Faerie Queene.


message 10: by [deleted user] (new)

_Paradise Lost_ is a magnificent edifice of an epic poem, borrowing heavily from Christian, Greek, and Roman mythologies. This is a man who PUT WORDS into Satan's mouth. Everybody does that. But he writes dialogue for JESUS and GOD. Now THAT, my friends, is creative courage.

message 11: by Bryan (last edited Aug 25, 2016 02:00PM) (new)

Bryan Big deal. I put words into their mouths all the time. Look:

Jesus: Oh, the humanity!

God: Price of free will.

Satan: F*ck you both.

There. I just saved everyone from having to read Paradise Lost.

message 12: by [deleted user] (new)


Write GOOD dialogue and INTELLIGENTLY plumb the depths of the Christian conflict of an ALL-GOOD God and his creation of sinister evil and opportunities for humanity to f*** up big-time.

message 13: by Claire (last edited Aug 25, 2016 02:00PM) (new)

Claire (deborahclaire) | 17 comments HAH - Bryan, that's great.

message 14: by Jason (last edited Aug 25, 2016 02:00PM) (new)

Jason (gireesh42) Rindis--that sounds awesome. i'll have to check it out...

message 15: by Jan (last edited Aug 25, 2016 02:01PM) (new)

Jan | 5 comments You have made me laugh for the first time today!

message 16: by Dianna (last edited Aug 25, 2016 02:01PM) (new)

Dianna | 55 comments Ha ha Bryan :)

I have not read Paradise Lost yet and I don't know if I ever will. I just finished reading Faust and it took me 4 years; I could not get into it. Faust and Paradise Lost sound similar to me. The poetic style is very difficult for me to digest. I like some shakespeare but only if it is comedy. Funny thing is I have the same trouble digesting Shakespeare tragedy as I had with Faust.

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