The Faerie Queene Book 1

Read by LibriVox Volunteers

(4.6 stars; 15 reviews)

"The First Book of the Faerie Queene Contayning The Legende of the Knight of the Red Crosse or Holinesse".
The Faerie Queene was never completed, but it continues to be one of the most beautiful and important works of literature ever written. Spenser wrote it as a paean to the Virgin Queen Elizabeth, and to the golden age which she had brought to England. Sponsored by Sir Walter Raleigh and commended by the foremost literary minds of his day, Spenser's book remains one of the crowning poetic achievements of the Elizabethan period.(Summary by Annise)
(5 hr 22 min)


Graham Williams blazes a path into the Impenetrable Forest

(3 stars)

Looking for an audiobook to help you make your way into the vast, forbidding, alien, archaic literary forest of "The Faerie Queene"? Start here. There are now two complete versions of the poem on LibriVox, as well as a complete commercial version and a four-hour selection from Naxos. Of these, this original LibriVox version, read by a disparate assortment of volunteers, is not going to be your best bet for getting through all 35,000 lines (fine though some of it certainly is), but it will get you off to a splendid start. For Spenser's first book, Graham Williams sets off by reading the Proem and Canto One (and later Cantos Four and Five), and no other performer of "The Faerie Queene" takes such patient, painstaking care with pace, pronunciation, and emphasis in an effort to help unprepared newcomers understand just what the heck the poet is talking about. It is true that, befuddled by the Elizabethan use of "i" for "j," Williams repeatedly misreads "Jove" as "love" (he finally catches himself and splices in a correction in Canto Five), but no narrator of "The Faerie Queene" is working harder to make sure that YOU can follow what is happening. Several other readers of this first LibriVox version are nearly as good, and Thomas A. Copeland's LibriVox recording is wonderful all the way through, but I wish Graham Williams had been able to perform every last word of "The Faerrie Queene."

Graham Williams rocks

(3 stars)

Graham Williams gives a four-star performance of three cantos (and the proem) of "The Faerie Queene" Book I, carefully bringing out the nuances of Spenser's archaizing English in a deliberately paced, well-modulated reading. (It would be five stars had he not been so late in coming to the realization that he had been reading "Jove"--spelled by Spenser with a capital I--as "love"!). The other readers did commendable work in filling out the rest of the book, but in my opinion Williams is the only one whose performance is not decisively eclipsed by Thomas A. Copeland's reading of the entire 33-hour "Faerie Queene." If Williams, like Copeland, had managed to do the entire poem, lovers of poetry, epic, and romance would have a second name to conjure with!

Always good to hear it outloud

(4 stars)

Recently bought a copy of this book and found myself preferring to read the lines outloud and found this archive of oral recordings; I am so glad to see this resource because I am a strong believer to have the classics read outloud for additional appreciation. Thanks

Thank You!

(5 stars)

I have not been this greatful in a long time. This resource has practically saved my life in English Lit. Thank you so much for what you do!