Document Type



Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor's Name

James Sutton

First Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Chair

Second Advisor's Name

Kenneth Johnson

Third Advisor's Name

Andrew Strycharski


Edmund Spenser, Queer Theory, Feminist Theory, Faerie Queene

Date of Defense



My thesis proposes a feminist-queer reading of Edmund Spenser’s The Faerie Queene in response to Julian Wolfreys’ “The ‘Endlesse Worke’ of Transgression”.

I examine the challenges to male authority that the low-born poet, Spenser, faced when he presented his manual for the formation of new English subjects to his sovereign queen, Elizabeth I. The Prefatory Letter to Raleigh and passages from the 1590 version of the epic provide evidence to support the view that traditional hierarchical male/female binaries may have been destabilized by the presence of an unmarried queen. My thesis also supplements Wolfreys’ essay with historical information regarding Mary Tudor and Mary Stuart in order to underscore the ethnocentric aspect of the process of “othering” that takes place in The Faerie Queene.





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