chapter  2
Pages 27

I turn now to a second device for reducing the proportion of relatively inaccessible meaning in The Faerie Oueene. This is to minimize the importance of a characteristic which had certainly appealed to Spenser's contemporaries, namely the element of historical allegory. Dry den thought that each of Spenser's knights represented an Elizabethan courtier; even Upton, who in his way knew so much more about The Vaerie Queene than we do, stressed the historical allegory and elaborately explained allusions to Elizabethan history. This way of reading Spenser persisted and, perhaps, reached its climax in the work of Lilian Winstanley half a century ago. But it was dealt a blow from which it has not recovered at the hands of the great American Spenserian, Edwin Greenlaw, in his book Studies in Spenser's Historical Allegory (1932).