Renaissance Fantasies: The Gendering of Aesthetics in Early Modern Fiction

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Kent State University Press, 1999 - Literary Criticism - 214 pages
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Renaissance Fantasies is the first full-length study to explore why a number of early modern writers put their masculine literary authority at risk by writing from the perspective of femininity and effeminacy. Prendergast argues that fictions like Boccaccio's Decameron, Etienne Pasquier's Monophile, Philip Sidney's Astrophil and Stella, and Shakespeare's As You Like It promote an alternative to the dominate, patriarchal aesthetics by celebrating unruly female and effeminate male bodies. She establishes how, during the early modern period, writers metaphorically associated didactic literature (like the epic) with masculinity, and fantastical or pleasurable literature (like Lyric or drama) with femininity or effeminacy.

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Sidney Nashe Anger and the Renaissance Aesthetics of Effeminacy
Exchanges of Women and Words Etienne Pasquiers Rewriting of The Courtier
Effeminacy and the Anxiety of Originality Astrophil and Stella and the Rime Sparse
Prose Femininity and the Prodigal Triangle in the Decameron and The Old Arcadia
The Truest Poetry Gender Genre and Class in As You Like It and A Defence of Poetry
Illusions of Originality

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Page 11 - Only the poet, disdaining to be tied to any such subjection, lifted up with the vigour of his own invention, doth grow in effect another nature, in making things either better than nature bringeth forth, or, quite anew, forms such as never were in nature...
Page 15 - And now that an overfaint quietness should seem to strew the house for poets, they are almost in as good reputation as the mountebanks at Venice.
Page 14 - Sweet Poesy, that hath anciently had kings, emperors, senators, great captains, such as, besides a thousand others, David, Adrian. Sophocles, Germanicus, not only to favour poets, but to be poets; and of our nearer times can present for her patrons a Robert, king of Sicily, the great King Francis of France, King James of Scotland; such cardinals as Bembus and Bibbiena...
Page 12 - ... the meaner sort of painters, who counterfeit only such faces as are set before them, and the more excellent, who, having no law but wit, bestow that in colours upon you which is fittest for the eye to see...
Page 17 - ... us great occasion, being indeed capable of any excellent exercising of it. I know, some will say it is a mingled language. And why not so much the better, taking the best of both the other? Another will say it wanteth grammar.

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About the author (1999)

Maria Teresa Micaela Prendergast received her Ph.D. from the University of Virginia and has taught in the English departments at the University of Miami and the University of South Alabama.

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