Women and Politics in Early Modern England, 1450-1700

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Ashgate, 2004 - Literary Criticism - 268 pages
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This collection of essays examines women's involvement in politics in early modern England, as writers, as members of kinship and patronage networks, and as petitioners, intermediaries and patrons. It challenges conventional conceptualizations of female power and influence, defining politics broadly in order to incorporate women excluded from formal, male-dominated state institutions. literary, palaeographic, linguistic and gender based. They deal with a variety of issues related to female intervention within political spheres, including women's rhetorical, persuasive and communicative skills; the production by women of a range of texts that can be termed political; the politicization of marital, family and kinship networks; and female involvement in patronage and court politics. The book also looks at ways in which images of female power and authority were represented within canonical texts, such as Shakespeare's plays and Milton's epic poetry. gender and politics, and locates women's political, social and cultural activities within the contexts of the family, locality and wider national stage. It argues for a blurring of the boundaries between the traditional categories of the public and the private, the domestic and the political; and enhances our understanding of the ways in which women exerted political force through informal, intimate and personal, as well as more official and formal channels of power.

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