“The fire of love and joy of chivalry” : a lexical frequency and semantic category analysis of The Faerie Queene

Beattie, Beth (2021) “The fire of love and joy of chivalry” : a lexical frequency and semantic category analysis of The Faerie Queene. MPhil(R) thesis, University of Glasgow.

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While The Faerie Queene has been the subject of copious literary analysis, there has been little research done using quantitative corpus analysis techniques. This research aims to determine the core vocabulary and semantic categories of the first book of The Faerie Queene with the purpose of uncovering Spenser’s key interests and motivations. There are two main stages to the project: lexical frequency and concordance analyses performed using WMatrix and AntConc, followed by a semantic category analysis using the Historical Thesaurus of English. The results of these analyses found that the core vocabulary and semantic categories are mostly interlinked, focusing on words relating to chivalry and the human body. Examining the broader semantic categories, however, highlights the importance of emotion and social class, in addition to religion and morality. This indicates that despite the allegory of the book, Spenser adheres to the traditional themes of chivalric literature like love and social status. He also uses emotion and body part words to encode more abstract concepts within the text and uses suffering and morality to accentuate his interpretation of Protestantism found within the text. These findings link to what is known about Spenser, with particular focus on aspects of literary style and what it means to be a good Protestant in the sixteenth century.

Item Type: Thesis (MPhil(R))
Qualification Level: Masters
Colleges/Schools: College of Arts & Humanities > School of Critical Studies > English Language and Linguistics
Supervisor's Name: Smith, Prof. Jeremy and Dallachy, Dr. Fraser
Date of Award: 2021
Depositing User: Theses Team
Unique ID: glathesis:2021-82930
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 08 Jun 2022 12:01
Last Modified: 08 Jun 2022 12:05
Thesis DOI: 10.5525/gla.thesis.82930
URI: https://theses.gla.ac.uk/id/eprint/82930

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