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ENGLISH LITERATURE (L14)  (Dept. Info)Arts & Sciences  (Policies)SP2017

L14 E Lit 3725Topics in Renaissance Literature: Sex, Politics, and Poetry in Early Modern England3.0 Units
Description:Early modern writers either obsess about or self-consciously skirt around a conspicuous public issue during the reign of Elizabeth I (1558-1603): The "King" of England had breasts. In this course we will explore Queen Elizabeth's political deployment of her own sex in her speeches, as well as the public rumors circulated about her sexual/political body. In a society that decries the "Monstrous Regiment of Women," how does Elizabeth I succeed in fostering both political and popular support-even using her own sex to her advantage? We will also look at writing by women published during (and just after) Elizabeth's reign to determine how other women negotiate the complicated discourse of early modern gender politics. Are women more authorized to speak under the reign of a woman, or does it further complicate their attempts to enter public discourse? As we read, we will attend to the ways women frame themselves as women, and how men respond to the centrality of the female voice and body during Elizabeth's reign. Looking at writing by men, we will consider the conventions of courtly poetry of the late 16th Century where the desired woman is King of the realm; and the anxieties over emasculation manifested in the works of male writers who feel England is diminished by a female monarch. Our readings will include amazons and cross-dressers, shepherdesses and warrior princesses. Throughout the semester, we will have opportunity to reflect on the operations of sex, gender, power, and poetics-both within the context of an early modern understanding of these topics, and by considering why the political/sexual body of Elizabeth I continues to capture the contemporary public imagination. Satisfies the Early Modern requirement.
Instruction Type:Classroom instruction Grade Options:C Fees:
Course Type:HomeSame As:N/AFrequency:None / History


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