The Faerie Queene anticipates postmodernist concerns with destabilizing language, and Lauren Silberman's stimulating study of Books III and IV of the poem proceeds from the assumption that Spenser has something important to say to us in the late twentieth century. In these books, Spenser exposes fictions of total control for what they are—fictions. The text affirms the value of risk and improvisation over the temptation to seek guarantees. The books examine the role of desire in moving us to function in an uncertain world and tempting us to foreclose that uncertainty by strategies that seek to frame knowledge through total mastery of it.
Lauren Silberman is a Professor of English at Baruch College and teaches courses in Medieval and Renaissance English, early women writers, classical literature and satire from Aesop through South Park. Her publications include Transforming Desire: Erotic Knowledge in Books III and IV of The Faerie Queene, Worldmaking Spenser: Explorations in the Early Modern Age (co-edited with Patrick Cheney) and articles on Edmund Spenser, Ben Jonson and L. Frank Baum
"An eminently readable and thoroughly engaging book . . . with numerous original readings that will have to be cited and confronted by future critics."—Donald Cheney, coeditor of The Spenser Encyclopedia "A very packed and original piece of work, beautifully written with both a sensitive understanding of Spenser's verse and a keen ear for the ridiculous. Her sense of Spenser's comedy is a refreshing change from the solemnity of many other critics."—Anne Lake Prescott, coeditor of The Norton Critical Edition of Spenser