An interactive outline of Book 1 of The Faerie Queene


This outline was designed to be used in an introductory, 100-level survey course for undergraduates. I have had conflicted feelings about using it in the classroom. On one hand, my experience has been that many students really struggle with the plot, and I've found the minimal framework provided by the outline engenders better student understanding and class discussion. On the other hand, part of the point of The Faerie Queene is that it's not completely straightforward. The reader should have to puzzle through things. Names and motives frequently become revealed often long after the characters and actions take place. Readers (and characters, I suppose) can suddenly find themselves in unexpected places and positions that require them to ponder, "How did I get here?" Many, like myself, find pleasure in the movement from confusion to understanding. For others, that confusion can be paralyzing. My goal in creating this outline has been to strike a balance between being so abstract as to be cryptic and to be so specific as to ruin interpretation.

I encourage teachers to use this outline in whatever way they deem fit. The license this outline has been released under means that you can do many things with this information and adapt it to your own purposes. You just have to attribute the original source, can't use it for a commercial purpose, and allow the new work to be licensed in the same way.

I would be most interested in any experiences teachers have using this outline. Please feel free to email any comments to faeriequeeneoutline@gmail.com.