Sexuality and Gender in Early Modern Europe: Institutions, Texts, Images

Overview

This exploration of sexuality and gender in Renaissance art and literature starts from an assumption that would have seemed unthinkable a generation ago: that the 'natural' phenomena of sex, gender and subjectivity are constructed rather than essentially biological or fixed. The essays rise to the challenge of producing a new post-Foucaultian history of gender and sexuality. All of them have been influenced by feminism, and several deal with women not just as objects of representation, but as subjects and authors...

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Overview

This exploration of sexuality and gender in Renaissance art and literature starts from an assumption that would have seemed unthinkable a generation ago: that the 'natural' phenomena of sex, gender and subjectivity are constructed rather than essentially biological or fixed. The essays rise to the challenge of producing a new post-Foucaultian history of gender and sexuality. All of them have been influenced by feminism, and several deal with women not just as objects of representation, but as subjects and authors in their own right. Among the historical issues examined are the production and suppression of women's voices, the relation between illicit sexuality and social order, the ambiguity of beauty, lesbian erotics, birth-imagery and the birthing ritual, the class status of women, the 'femininity' of masculine dress, and the sexual politics of courtesy.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"The great strength of this volume is that it displays the wide variety of approaches being applied to cultural products of the Renaissance. In particular, it demonstrates how the juxtaposition and reconsideration of different types of evidence (visual, literary, and 'empirical') can significantly enrich our understanding of the Renaissance." Linda L. Gaus, Sixteenth Century Journal
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521390736
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 8/5/1993
  • Pages: 362
  • Product dimensions: 5.98 (w) x 8.98 (h) x 0.79 (d)

Table of Contents

List of illustrations
Notes on contributors
Preface and acknowledgements
Introduction: A history of sexuality? 1
1 Marriage, love, sex, and Renaissance civic morality 10
2 Typology, sexuality, and the Renaissance Esther 31
3 Artifice as seduction in Titian 55
4 Renaissance women and the question of class 90
5 Venetian women writers and their discontents 107
6 The ambiguity of beauty in Tasso and Petrarch 133
7 The ladies' man and the age of Elizabeth 158
8 Troping Utopia: Donne's brief for lesbianism 182
9 Staging gender: William Shakespeare and Elizabeth Cary 208
10 The semiotics of masculinity in Renaissance England 233
11 Recuperating women and the man behind the screen 247
12 A womb of his own: male Renaissance poets in the female body 266
13 The geography of love in seventeenth-century women's fiction 289
14 Gender and conduct in Paradise Lost 310
Index 339
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