Elizabeth McIntosh ’14: No Faerie Tale

By Beth Walk

Elizabeth McIntosh

The  Research

Elizabeth McIntosh’s project focuses on the influence of Elizabeth I’s patronage on Edmund Spenser’s The Faerie Queene, particularly as it colored Spenser’s conception of King Arthur and Gloriana, the fairy queen of the poem’s title. As Spenser’s Arthur appears to be the product of the competing literary traditions of chivalric adventure and courtly love, McIntosh’s research explores and reconciles how Spenser’s mediation of the literary and political tensions of Elizabethan patronage reveals itself in these two Arthurian identities. She shows how Spenser engages with literary convention to address a queen who demands political homage and romantic love.

In Her Own Words

“This summer, I stumbled upon the world’s largest collection of portraits of Elizabeth when I visited the National Portrait Gallery in London. While doing my research, I’d become captivated by the visual nature of Spenser’s poetry, and the dazzling symbolism of these masterpieces reminded me of the intricacies of The Faerie Queene. I want to explore the relationship between literary and painted representations of Elizabeth Tudor—which is a great way to bring together my two majors, English and art history.”

Adviser: Drew Daniel, Assistant Professor, English