Spenser's Famous Flight
Published: October 2017© 1993
390 Pages, 5.90 x 9.00 x 1.00 in
In Spenser's famous Flight, Patrick Cheney challenges the received wisdom about the shape and goal of Spenser's literary career. He contends that Spenser's idea of a literary career is not strictly the convential Virgilian pattern of pastoral to epic, but a Christian revision of that pattern in light of Petrarch and the Reformation.
Cheney demonstrates that, far from changing his mind about his career as a result of disillusionment, Spenser embarks upon and completes a daring progress that secures his status as an Orphic poet.
In October, Spenser calls his idea of a literary career the 'famous flight.' Both classical and Christian culture has authorized the myth of the winged poet as a primary myth of fame and glory. Cheney shows that throughout his poetry Spenser relies on an image of flight to accomplish his highest goal.