Paul E. McLane, “The Death of a Queen: Spenser’s Dido as Elizabeth

John Watkins, in The Specter of Dido, argues: “In recounting Aeneas’s abandonment of Dido, Virgil commemorated his own rejection of Homeric romance. Later poets retold Dido’s story as a fictional account of their own poetic genesis and thus entered the Virgilian epic succession. Spenser joins their ranks by organizing his major poetry around multiple revisions of Dido’s tragedy. But unlike his continental precursors, Spenser never commits himself to a single interpretation of Dido’s moral, political, or aesthetic significance. By undertaking an unresolvable quest for Virgilian authority, Spenser transforms epic into a form that embraces alternative views of its own generic nature.”