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Reading the Allegorical IntertextChaucer, Spenser, Shakespeare, Milton$
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Judith H. Anderson

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780823228478

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: September 2011

DOI: 10.5422/fordham/9780823228478.001.0001

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Arthur and Argante: Parodying the Ideal Vision

Arthur and Argante: Parodying the Ideal Vision

(p.126) 8. Arthur and Argante: Parodying the Ideal Vision
Reading the Allegorical Intertext

Judith H. Anderson

Fordham University Press

Argante is one of the most luridly colorful figures in The Faerie Queene. She is the aggressively lustful giantess in the Book III. She is said to be the twin sister of Ollyphant, or elephant, with whom she is reported to have been locked in sexual intercourse at birth. Spenser takes Ollyphant from the giant in Chaucer's Sir Thopas, a Tale on which Spenser drew frequently and specifically in Book I for the Prince Arthur's dream of his beloved elf queen, the Queen of Faerie. As an antitype to the idealized elf queen, Argante correlates more generally with the ambivalent treatment of Arthur throughout Spenser's poem but most conspicuously in Book I. Many editors pass over Argante's name in conspicuous silence. Her name has never been accounted for satisfactorily, despite its curious coincidence with Tasso's male knight.

Keywords:   Argante, Ollyphant, elf queen, The Faerie Queene, Arthur, Spenser

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