Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Becoming ChristianRace, Reformation, and Early Modern English Romance$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

Dennis Austin Britton

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780823257140

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: September 2014

DOI: 10.5422/fordham/9780823257140.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM FORDHAM SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.fordham.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Fordham University Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in FSO for personal use.date: 25 May 2022

Ovidian Baptism in Book 2 of The Faerie Queene

Ovidian Baptism in Book 2 of The Faerie Queene

(p.59) 2. Ovidian Baptism in Book 2 of The Faerie Queene
Becoming Christian

Dennis Austin Britton

Fordham University Press

Chapter 2 argues that Edmund Spenser’s The Faerie Queene is unable to imagine that a Saracen knight like Pyrochles can “renounce [his] miscreaunce” because of emergent early modern concepts of unalterable racial difference, difference that Reformation baptism could not erase. The Nymph’s well episode at the beginning of Book 2 has long been read as registering sixteenth-century theological controversies about baptism, but this chapter explores why Spenser uses Ovid to intervene in theological debates. Spenser uses Ovid’s Metamorphoses, in which characters retain a portion of their premetamorphosis identities, to suggest that no mode of transformation—be it through romance, baptism, or allegory—can erase all aspects of originary identity. Moreover, the very concept of transformation cannot be reconciled with the epic’s intention to fashion a racially pure and religiously stable Protestant national identity.

Keywords:   Edmund Spenser, The Faerie Queene, Ovid, Metamorphoses, racial difference, baptism, national identity, epic, romance, allegory

Fordham Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs , and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us .