(urth) Spenser and Wolfe

Craig Brewer cnbrewer at yahoo.com
Thu Feb 5 07:05:57 PST 2009

I've checked the archives, but I can't locate very much on the relationship between Wolfe and Edmund Spenser. So I wanted to ask if anyone had any other leads or references they've found. (And, of course, if anyone knows of anywhere Wolfe mentions have read Spenser would be wonderful.) Of course the back of the current editing of Shadow and Claw lists Spenser on the back along with Dickens. And the general allegorical landscape of New Sun in particular immediately asks to be compared to other allegories.

But Spenser specifically?

The closet immediate connection is Talos/Talus. In Book V of the Faerie Queene, the knight of Justice, Artegall, travels with a huge golem who metes out harsh justice. The golem's name is Talus. Of course this brings to mind the taluses of Long Sun, but also Dr. Talos...who, of course, writes his own allegorical play.

Now of course Wolfe could just be referring, like Spenser, to the Talos or bronze giant in Greek myth. But the fact that Dr. Talos is the one who writes the allegory got me thinking whether this was a nod to Spenser. Then, of course, I got to thinking about other possible Spenserianisms in Wolfe. I've always known they were alike in spirit, but now I'd like to know whether there's something more substantive.

Spenser also has a Phaedria, but there are a number of Phaedria's out there, and the resemblances are vague.

And on a note on the recent religious discussion, it would be incredibly interesting to look at how Wolfe integrated a militantly Protestant poet like Spenser...

(The only bit on Spenser I could find in the archives was a wonderful note by Nigel Price here: http://www.urth.net/urth/archives/v0024/0051.shtml)


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