Assembling Radigund and Artegall: 
Gender Identities in Spenser’s Faerie Queene

John Henry Adams


While gender in Edmund Spenser’s Faerie Queene has often been read as either essential or constructed, it does not actually fit into either category because Spenser is writing a fluid and poly-vocal allegory.  As a result, the characters are also allegorical things and must be considered through object-centered criticism.  Gender in the poem is an assemblage of props, bodies, and actions; while it is as such always of the moment, the poem’s cross-dressing emphasizes how gender assemblages remain tangible even after their moment has passed.  By examining Spenser’s treatment of the cross-dressers Radigund and Artegall, we can recognize more fully how gender works both within the allegory and outside of it, as neither fully essential nor fully temporary but as assembled and re-assembled.


Spenser, assemblage theory, gender

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