Polliticke Courtier: Spenser's The Faerie Queene as a Rhetoric of Justice

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McGill-Queen's Press - MQUP, 1996 - Literary Criticism - 245 pages
Although pervasive in Spenser's art, the role of rhetoric has not been adequately addressed by critics. This disregard of the importance of rhetoric in The Faerie Queene, Dixon argues, obscures Spenser's larger rhetorical method and the structural dynamic it generates. Dixon identifies Britomart's evolution in Books III-V as the poem's centre and elucidates the rhetorical strategies that invest Spenser's "argument" for justice. Building on Kenneth Burke's conception of courtship in rhetoric as "the use of suasive devices for the transcending of social estrangement," Dixon interprets The Faerie Queene as a narrative of courtship in purpose as well as content, arguing that its tales of questing knights compose an artifact of suasive devices whereby Spenser courts a meeting of minds with his audience on the subject of justice.

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