Performing Polity: Women and Agency in the Anglo-French Tradition, 1385-1620
Reading a variety of texts centred in the power and agency of women during the period 1385 to 1620, this book examines changing ideals of gender within the context of changing ideologies of governance and polity. Together the essays that comprise this book lay out three lines of thinking about women and polity: that the ideology of late medieval gender roles articulated in Anglo-French texts of the late fourteenth and early fifteenth centuries outlined important roles for women's voice and agency in supporting the larger polity as well as the smaller household; that the acceptance and the value of those roles diminished as models of polity in both Church and State in England changed in the early modern period; that to see this change merely in terms of change in expectations of gender roles is to miss the vital link between the status of women and the political construction of individual relationship to authority. Woman is the site on which society delineates the degree of freedom and independence it will tolerate in the political subject. The attention directed to women's roles in the plethora of woman-centred stories, courtesy books, prayer books, sermons and tracts in the period 1385-1620 is an index to shifting alignments of power that replaced medieval models of partnership and co-operation with models of obedience.
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androgyny Anne Anne of Bohemia authority behaviour Cambridge Carolyn Collette Catherine Catherine of Aragon centred century chapter Chaucer Christ Christine de Pizan Christine's Chronicle Church cited civic Clerk's Tale common Coronation Corpus Christi play court culture devotion early modern England English Eric Hicks female femme Forrest French Gautier gender Giles of Rome Griselda story Grisild guilds Henry Henry VIII household husband ideal ideology images intercession intercessory Joan of Kent King L'Estoire Lady late medieval lines Livre des Trois London lord marriage Mary's mediation Middle Ages noble obedience Oresme Oresme's Oxford pageants parish performance petition Philippe de Mezieres play political Politiques praise prayers Primer prince Prioress's Prologue Prudence publique Queen Reformation reign religious Richard Richard II role royal saints sapience social spiritual subjects Tale tion trans Trois Vertus trope Tudor University Press virtue voice Walter wife woman women women's agency York