What I Really Teach When I'm Teaching Spenser

What I Really Teach When I'm Teaching Spenser Sheila T. Cavanagh My introduction to Edmund Spenser came in my sophomore year in college during a survey class, when my professor announced: “If you’ve read one page of The Faerie Queene, you’ve read more than enough.” Since I had never heard of the epic, let alone read a word of it, I had no reason to doubt this proffered wisdom. That same semester, however, I encountered Spenser again, albeit vicariously, from a very different perspective. A group of my friends were enrolled in the senior honors seminar, which was focused on a single author. To their horror, they discovered that they would be spending the semester working on Spenser’s writings. Why they were appalled, I cannot remember, but I do recall that they spent countless meal hours complaining about the fate they believed awaited them. The professor listened to their objections and offered a compromise, which they accepted: they agreed to read and discuss The Faerie Queene for three weeks. At the end of that time they were free to request a change in topic for the rest of the term. But by the time Spenser’s probationary period was over, they were hooked, and as the semester http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Pedagogy: Critical Approaches to Teaching Literature, Language, Composition, and Culture Duke University Press

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Publisher
Duke University Press
Copyright
Copyright 2003 by Duke University Press
ISSN
1531-4200
eISSN
1533-6255
D.O.I.
10.1215/15314200-3-2-177
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Sheila T. Cavanagh My introduction to Edmund Spenser came in my sophomore year in college during a survey class, when my professor announced: “If you’ve read one page of The Faerie Queene, you’ve read more than enough.” Since I had never heard of the epic, let alone read a word of it, I had no reason to doubt this proffered wisdom. That same semester, however, I encountered Spenser again, albeit vicariously, from a very different perspective. A group of my friends were enrolled in the senior honors seminar, which was focused on a single author. To their horror, they discovered that they would be spending the semester working on Spenser’s writings. Why they were appalled, I cannot remember, but I do recall that they spent countless meal hours complaining about the fate they believed awaited them. The professor listened to their objections and offered a compromise, which they accepted: they agreed to read and discuss The Faerie Queene for three weeks. At the end of that time they were free to request a change in topic for the rest of the term. But by the time Spenser’s probationary period was over, they were hooked, and as the semester

Journal

Pedagogy: Critical Approaches to Teaching Literature, Language, Composition, and CultureDuke University Press

Published: Apr 1, 2003

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