What can I write on dark conceit as it pertains to Spenser's The Faerie Queene?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

The first step in writing about Spenser's dark conceit is to define it. This may be a harder task than it seems. Spenser appears the originator, or the first user in print, of the term "dark conceit." It appears in the letter to Sir Walter Raleigh that heads the beginning of Spenser's allegory:

SIR,
Knowing how doubtfully all Allegories may be constructed, and this booke of mine, which I have entituled The Faery Queene, being a continued Allegorie, or darke conceit, I have thought good, as well for avoyding of jealous opinions and misconstructions, as also for your better light in reading thereof, (being so, by you commanded) to discover unto you the generall intention and meaning, ....

Even John V. Fleming, professor emeritus at Princeton University, defines dark conceit by referring to Spenser's use of it:

... allegory [is] a literary genre that advances its fiction beneath a dark conceit.  There are some pretty famous examples, such as...

(The entire section contains 460 words.)

Unlock This Answer Now

Start your 48-hour free trial to unlock this answer and thousands more. Enjoy eNotes ad-free and cancel anytime.

Start your 48-Hour Free Trial
Approved by eNotes Editorial Team