The Invention of the Renaissance Woman: The Challenge of Female Independence in the Literature and Thought of Italy and England / Edition 1

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1992 Paperback A new, unread, unused book in perfect condition with no missing or damaged pages. Shipped from UK. Orders will be dispatched within 48 hours of receiving your ... order. Orders are dispatched Monday-Friday. FREE Returns service (for UK customers) for books upto 2kg please contact us for details. *****PLEASE NOTE: This item is shipping from an authorized seller in Europe. In the event that a return is necessary, you will be able to return your item within the US. To learn more about our European sellers and policies see the BookQuest FAQ section***** Read more Show Less

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Overview

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. Pamela Benson argues that 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 More, Thomas Elyot, Juan Luis Vives, Richard Hyrde, Jane Anger, and Henry Howard.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780271008141
  • Publisher: Penn State University Press
  • Publication date: 7/28/1992
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 336
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.84 (d)

Meet the Author

Pamela Benson is Associate Professor of English at Rhode Island College.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
Introduction 1
1 Boccaccio's De mulieribus claris: An Ambiguous Beginning 9
2 From Praise to Paradox: The First Italian Defenses of Women 33
3 The Literary Containment of the Independent Woman: Capella and Castiglione 65
4 The Debate about Woman in the Orlando furioso 91
5 Praise and Limitation of the Independent Woman in the Orlando furioso 123
6 The New Ideal in England: Thomas More, Juan Luis Vives, and Richard Hyrde 157
7 Virtue and Politics in Sir Thomas Elyot's The Defence of Good Women 183
8 The Popular Controversy in England 205
9 The Defense of Female Regiment: Practical Politics 231
10 Praise and Defense of Woman in The Faerie Queene 251
11 Praise and Defense of the Queen in The Faerie Queene 281
Works Cited 307
Index 319
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