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The Invention of the Renaissance Woman: The Challenge of Female Independence in the Literature and Thought of Italy and England

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The Invention of the Renaissance Woman: The Challenge of Female Independence in the Literature and Thought of Italy and England Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

During the Renaissance the nature of womankind was a major topic of debate. Numerous dialogues, defenses, paradoxes, and tributes devoted to sustaining woman's excellence were published, and in them history was rewritten to include the achievements of womankind. Often these texts demonstrate that women are capable of acting with prudence, temperance, fortitude, and justice, and thus are capable of being independent of male political and moral authority, yet, Pamela Benson argues, the writers use literary means (genre, characterization, narrator, paradox, plot) to defeat the political challenge posed by female independence and to restrain women within a traditional role. The Invention of the Renaissance Woman is a study of the literary strategies used both to create the notion of the independent woman and to restrain her.Traditionally, the profeminism of most of these texts has not been taken seriously because their playful or extreme styles have been read as a sign that they were nothing but a game. Benson demonstrates that the flamboyant and frequently paradoxical style of these texts is the key to their successful profeminism. She defines the literary and conceptual differences between the Italian and English traditions and argues that two of the greatest literary works of the Renaissance, the Orlando furioso and The Faerie Queene, are major texts in the tradition of defense and praise of women. The Inventions of the Renaissance Women is the first substantial contextual discussion of the majority of the Italian texts and many of the English ones. Benson uses the insights of feminist theory and of cultural studies without subordinating the Renaissance texts to a modern political agenda. Among the authors discussed are Spenser, Boccaccio, Ariosto, Castiglione, Vespasiano da Bisticci, Thomas Moore, Thomas Elyot, Juan Luis Vives, Richard Hyrde, Jane Anger, and Henry Howard.

Table of Contents

Contents: Boccaccio's De mulieribus claris : an ambiguous beginning — From praise to paradox : the first Italian defenses of women — The literary containment of the independent woman : Capella and Castiglione — The debate about woman in the Orlando furioso — Praise and limitation of the independent woman in the Orlando furioso — The new ideal in England : Thomas More, Juan Luis Vives, and Richard Hyrde — Virtue and politics in Sir Thomas Elyot's The defence of good women — The popular controversy in England — The defense of female regiment : practical politics — Praise and defense of woman in The faerie queene — Praise and defense of the queen in The faerie queene.

Product Details

ISBN:
9780271042121
Subtitle:
The Challenge of Female Independence in the Literature and Thought of Italy and England
Publisher:
Pennsylvania State University Press
Creator:
Pamela Benson
Author:
Pamela Benson
Author:
Benson, Pamela
Subject:
Feminism and literature
Subject:
Feminism & Feminist Theory
Subject:
Women and literature -- Italy -- History.
Subject:
Renaissance
Subject:
English, Irish, Scottish, Welsh
Subject:
Women and literature
Subject:
English literature
Subject:
Women
Subject:
Italian literature
Subject:
Literature, comparative
Subject:
English literature - Early modern, 1500-
Subject:
Women and literature -- England -- History.
Subject:
Classics-Medieval and Renaissance General
Subject:
Literary Criticism : General
Subject:
main_subject
Subject:
all_subjects
Publication Date:
1992
Binding:
ELECTRONIC
Language:
English
Pages:
325

Related Subjects

History and Social Science » Feminist Studies » General
History and Social Science » Gender Studies » Womens Studies
Humanities » Literary Criticism » General

The Invention of the Renaissance Woman: The Challenge of Female Independence in the Literature and Thought of Italy and England
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Product details 325 pages Pennsylvania State University Press - English 9780271042121 Reviews:
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