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Tudor women writers fashioning masculinity

Singh, Amritesh (2011) Tudor women writers fashioning masculinity. PhD thesis, University of York.

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Abstract

This thesis contributes to the growing interest in early modern masculinity and its literary representations by introducing texts by women writers into dialogue with their male-authored counterparts. It argues for a more nuanced approach that recognises that the concepts of masculinity and femininity can only be fully understood when studied in relation with each other. The first chapter explores how, notwithstanding the wisdom of conduct books and marriage guides, the demands of the state may not always be commensurate with those of the domestic realm and shows that this conflict necessitates a rethinking of existing definitions of masculinity by focusing on selected writings of the Tudor sisters Mary and Elizabeth and Jane Fitzalan’s *Tragedie of Iphigeneia*. The second chapter identifies how Elizabeth’s unique discursive strategies were designed to elicit support from her male subjects and subdue the belligerence that simmered under polemic like John Stubbs’ *Gaping Gulf*. In her letters to Anjou, the chapter examines how Elizabeth manoeuvred around her position as a beloved and as a monarch to fashion a husband who would not only be sympathetic but also subordinate to her political authority. This chapter also shows how the fabulous world of John Lyly’s *Galatea* consummates the Queen’s desire for the ideal male subject. The final chapter investigates the construction of martial manhood. It juxtaposes Mary Sidney’s *The Tragedy of Antonie* with William Shakespeare’s *Antony and Cleopatra* to determine how the figure of Cleopatra, common to both plays, challenges and revises the martial code of masculinity as embodied by Antony. By examining the authorial position appropriated by Cleopatra in the plays and its impact on the narrative, this chapter also extends this thesis’ interest in the extent to which female characters within texts compete for diegetic control with male protagonists.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Keywords: early modern, gender, masculinity, women writers, Renaissance, Elizabeth Tudor, Mary Sidney, Jane Lumley, William Shakespeare, Christopher Marlowe, John Lyly
Academic Units: The University of York > English and Related Literature (York)
Depositing User: Mr Amritesh Singh
Date Deposited: 18 Jan 2012 09:28
Last Modified: 08 Aug 2013 08:46
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/1522

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