The Reading of Books and the Reading of Literature

Forming the English Canon > Faerie Queene

From its initial publication in 1590, The Faerie Queene was viewed as the English epic. With a dedicatory epistle to Walter Ralegh, a slew of commendatory sonnets, and a dedication to the Queen, the book strives for importance. Matthew Lownes’ 1609 edition publishes all the dedicatory sonnets and the letter to Walter Ralegh in addition to the epic's six books and the mutability cantos. Columbia's copy of the 1609 edition lacks the title page and dedication to Elizabeth. One of the book's owners thus removed the title page preceding Books 4-6, inserted it at the beginning of the book, and altered it to read "The First Part of the Faerie Queene: Containing the first, second, & third books." Note that several words are pasted in: "First" preceding “part” as well as "first, second, and third."

This is the end of Book 3 and beginning of Book 4. The title page preceding Book 4 is missing and has been placed at the beginning of the book.

A title page is not the only thing that this book is missing. Several pages are lacking, and so an early owner has supplied an ink facsimile of this missing text. The writer carefully attempts to reproduce the typeface and spacing.

The writer even reproduces the summative poetry preceding each canto. Here, the printed text resumes.

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