chapter  10
Desire, Nature, and Automata in the Bower of Bliss
ByNick Davis
Pages 18

This chapter will argue that working automata and the idea of the automaton are central to the Bower of Bliss episode in The Faerie Queene (Book II, canto xii).1 Modern readers have generally failed to spot the garden’s machines, but this failure is readily explicable, given that the poem’s account of the Bower, like the represented Bower itself, is constructed in such a way as to block processes of recognition. These come fully into play only at the episode’s dénouement, which, if correctly assessed, precipitates a rethinking of what has gone before: this is a garden profuse in mechanical deceptions, devices placed there to sustain an illusion. Before identifying them individually, I’ll consider the broadest aspect of their modus operandi.