The Limits of Eroticism in Post-Petrarchan Narrative: Conditional Pleasure from Spenser to Marvell

Overview

Petrarch imagined that the hopeless but pure love of a women could lead a man to heaven. In sixteenth-century England Edmund Spenser wrote poetry in the petrarchan tradition while heightening its dilemmas, flirting with a very different kind of feminine image. Dorothy Stephens shows that this flirtation emerges only in conditional language and situations, creating an eroticism which the narrator nevertheless insists is illusory. She goes on to look at responses to Spenser's eroticism among male and female writers...
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Overview

Petrarch imagined that the hopeless but pure love of a women could lead a man to heaven. In sixteenth-century England Edmund Spenser wrote poetry in the petrarchan tradition while heightening its dilemmas, flirting with a very different kind of feminine image. Dorothy Stephens shows that this flirtation emerges only in conditional language and situations, creating an eroticism which the narrator nevertheless insists is illusory. She goes on to look at responses to Spenser's eroticism among male and female writers in the seventeenth century.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Stephens handles Spenser's famously intricate language with precision and uncommon insight." Choice

"The book is the best and most thorough to date to explore a trope that has recently received a good bit of attention: the feminized imaginative faculty." Theresa M. Krier, Modern Philology

"...Stephens' readings of the Cavendish/Brackley and Marvell texts are characteristically probing, once again demonstrating the exceptional critical acumen that is the hallmark of this fine study." Renaissance Quarterly

"...rich and rewarding..." Spenser Newsletter

"Waht the superficial glance misses...this book delights to reveal." Journal of English and Germanic Philology

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Product Details

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
Introduction 1
Pt. I Spenser 23
1 Into other arms: Amoret's evasion 25
2 "Newes of devils": feminine sprights in masculine minds 47
3 Monstrous intimacy and arrested developments 73
4 Narrative flirtations 102
Pt. II Seventeenth-century refigurations 141
5 "Who can those vast imaginations feed?": The Concealed Fancies and the price of hunger 143
6 Caught in the act at Nun Appleton 178
Afterword 210
Notes 212
Works cited 230
Index 242
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