Edmund Spenser (1552-99) ranks just below Shakespeare, with Chaucer and Milton, in the pantheon of great writers. In The Faerie Queene, he spins a sub-created fantasy universe that would be the model for Tolkien and Lewis. This poet, whom Milton considered to be a better teacher than the medieval theologians, wrote an epic tale of adventure, love, noble deeds, and faith.
Despite all his acknowledged greatness, almost no one reads Spenser anymore. Roy Maynard takes the first book of The Faerie Queene, exploring the concept of Holiness with the character of the Redcross Knight, and makes Spenser accessible again. He does this not by dumbing it down, but by deftly modernizing the spelling, and including notes in the margins explaining the obscurities in clever asides, and cuing the reader towards the right response.