Gender and Literacy on Stage in Early Modern England

Overview

In early modern England, boys and girls learned to be masculine or feminine as they learned to read and write. This book explores how gender differences, instilled through specific methods of instruction in literacy, were scrutinized in the English public theater. Close readings of plays from Shakespeare's Love's Labour's Lost to Thomas Dekker's Whore of Babylon, and of poems, didactic treatises and autobiographical writings from the same period, offer a richly textured analysis of the interaction among didactic ...

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Overview

In early modern England, boys and girls learned to be masculine or feminine as they learned to read and write. This book explores how gender differences, instilled through specific methods of instruction in literacy, were scrutinized in the English public theater. Close readings of plays from Shakespeare's Love's Labour's Lost to Thomas Dekker's Whore of Babylon, and of poems, didactic treatises and autobiographical writings from the same period, offer a richly textured analysis of the interaction among didactic precepts, literary models, and historical men and women.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"A sophisticated analysis of how girls and boys learned gender roles as they learned to read and write and how gender differences were supported or critiqued in the English public theater and in writings by women and men. The book is first-rate literary history and first-rate social and cultural history that confronts the connections between gender theory and historical practice. This is fine scholarship." Awards' Committee, The Society for the Study of Early Modern Women

"In a book that will appeal to anyone interested in the process by which subjectivity is gendered, Sanders considers a range of texts - educational teatises and conduct manuals as well as drama, poetry, and autobiographical writing by women - which illustrate the humanist agenda and deviations from their prescriptions." New Theatre Quarterly

"While working to map out a new history of gender and literacy in Renaissance drama, this book also opens up a series of methodological questions about the place of close reading in historicist work today." Shakespeare Quarterly

"Most highly recommended for upper-division undergraduates through faculty." Choice

"[Sanders] presents a nuanced study of how cultural constructions of writing and reading inform complex dramatic characterization and motivate dramatic structures that themselves are as likely to resist as to inculcate the gendered humanist model. Sanders offers genuinely fresh insights..." Renaissance Quarterly

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Product Details

Table of Contents

Preface; 1. On his breast writ; 2. Enter Hamlet reading on a book; 3. She reads and smiles; 4. Writes in his tables; 5. She writes; Bibliography.

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