This essay analyzes the figures of language and of landscape that allow Edmund Spenser to consider in an international context the virtue at the center of Book V of The Faerie Queene, justice. How, he asks, is justice projected from one society into another in an act of empire? Spenser's thinking on this issue is conditioned by his participation in a way of figuring empire through the palus, or the wooden stake that marks the boundary of civil society in a colonial setting, often under English rule. The alternative way of figuring imperial power on the landscape during this period is the via, that is, the way or channel that penetrates indigenous territory. Spenser also explores teleiopoesis, or the making of imaginative effects at a distance, an imaginative force that complements and drives across the figures of the palus and via. The essay argues that justice in Book V must be understood through these figures and in the international context that Spenser evokes in his exploration of justice. Such an approach does not cancel out but augments many of the traditional readings of this virtue in The Faerie Queene.
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Research Article| January 01 2009
Roland Greene; The “Scriene” and the Channel: England and Spain in Book V of The Faerie Queene. Journal of Medieval and Early Modern Studies 1 January 2009; 39 (1): 43–64. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/10829636-2008-013
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