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

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

by Dorothy Stephens
     
 

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The poet Petrarch imagined that the hopeless but pure love of a woman 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

Overview

The poet Petrarch imagined that the hopeless but pure love of a woman 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, and that the eroticism the reader feels often belies a narrator's insistence that it is illusory. She goes on to look at responses to Spenser's eroticism among male and female writers in the seventeenth century.

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

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780521630641
Publisher:
Cambridge University Press
Publication date:
11/26/1998
Series:
Cambridge Studies in Renaissance Literature and Culture Series, #29
Pages:
264
Product dimensions:
5.98(w) x 8.98(h) x 0.75(d)

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