Sir Philip Sidney, the Arcadia and his step-dame,
Richard James Wood
author anxious to prescribe the limits of his rhetorical figures. 19 Nevertheless, Sidney does allow himself an unusual degree of freedom with regard to his own authorial masculinity, and, more significantly, the gender of his figural parents, natural or surrogate. In particular, his willingness, temporarily at least, to suspend his own masculinity when addressing the queen may be seen in the context, described separately by Katherine Eggert and Jacqueline Vanhoutte, in which male courtiers assumed powers beyond their status. In her article, ‘Elizabeth I as Stepmother
Shakespeare’s shifting sonnets. From Love’s Labour’s Lost to The
sonnets, unlike Shakespeare’s sonnets (when not mediated by
any dramatic character other than Will), conceal this fundamental
political issue under the varnish of the conventional
love-at-first-sight motif. No matter how anxious these immature
young men may be about their destiny and their masculinity, they
have to put up a bold front and decide to focus on amorous games.
’ ( Met IV. 320–54). In the Metamorphoses , Salmacis’s passion is actually rewarded, while Hermaphroditus’s refusal of sex is punished when he is tricked into forfeiting his masculinity. And it is Hermaphroditus who is ultimately responsible for the emasculating quality of the waters. The part of Ovid’s story omitted by Spenser, conspicuous by its absence, is surely relevant given the additional hints that Red Crosse’s desire is repressive, masturbatory, and emasculating.
While the comedy of the episode is assured either way, I am suggesting that a more complex and
55 Edmund Spenser, Complaints , ed. W.L. Renwick (London: Scolartis, 1928), 226. Renwick’s comments on the poem’s debt to Chaucer are also valuable: ‘Spenser deliberately roughens his verse in imitation of his master’.
56 See George Puttenham, The Art of English Poesy , ed. Frank Whigham and Wayne A. Rebhorn (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2007), 149–50, for useful notes on the uncertain term ‘riding rhyme’. See Catherine Bates, Masculinity and the Hunt: Wyatt to Spenser (Oxford: Oxford
Persia, masculinity, and conversion in early seventeenth-century travel writing and drama
with conversion to Islam, and thus
to diffuse potential anxieties about the threats of religious
conversion to travellers’ masculinity. It is worth noting here
that religious conversion does not actually take place in any of the
sources considered in this chapter; rather it hovers, sometimes
suggested and sometimes unspoken, signifying a foreign threat to
Under the combined effects of the Protestant and Catholic Reformations within and pressure from the Ottoman Empire without, early modern Europe became a site in which an unprecedented number of people were confronted by new beliefs, and collective and individual religious identities were broken down and reconfigured. Conversions: gender and religious change in early modern Europe is the first collection to explicitly address the intersections between sexed identity and religious change in the two centuries following the Reformation. The varied and wide-ranging chapters in this collection bring the Renaissance 'turn of the soul' into productive conversation with the three most influential ‘turns’ of recent literary, historical, and art historical study: the ‘turn to religion’, the ‘material turn’, and the ‘gender turn’. Contributors consider masculine as well as feminine identity, and consider the impact of travel, printing, and the built environment alongside questions of genre, race and economics. Of interest to scholars of early modern history, literature, and architectural history, this collection will appeal to anyone interested in the vexed history of religious change, and the transformations of gendered selfhood. Bringing together leading scholars from across the disciplines of literary study, history and art history, Conversions: gender and religious change offers novel insights into the varied experiences of, and responses to, conversion across and beyond Europe. A lively Afterword by Professor Matthew Dimmock (University of Sussex) drives home the contemporary urgency of these themes, and the lasting legacies of the Reformations.
Gender and generation in Robert Southwell’s Epistle to his father
In an ‘Epistle to his Father’, the Jesuit priest and poet Robert Southwell signs himself ‘Your most dutiful and loving son’. Dutiful it may be, but loving this letter certainly is not. Southwell threatens his father with a horrifying vision of his ‘departing-bed’, asking him to imagine himself ‘burdened with the heavy load of your former trespasses, and gored with the sting and prick of a festered conscience’, feeling ‘the cramp of death wresting your heart-strings’. This essay considers the relationship between Southwell’s construction of gender identity and his attempts to convert English Protestants – beginning with those in his own family. Southwell’s role as a son, and his relationship to his father, is central here, as this chapter reveals the ways in which early modern masculinity is both engendered and called into question by the process of religious conversion. The chapter also considers a different kind of conversion; that which Southwell effects upon the literary genre of the letter of advice. Drawing out the etymological relationship between ‘gender’, ‘genre’ and ‘generation,’ the analysis work in the interstices of these terms, showing their centrality to the confessional narrative at the heart of this volume.
muscle, beneath, only words and wadding,
their purpose being merely decorative and servile.
At this point we must be careful not to confuse
‘effeminacy’ with elaborate fashions. That model of
Tudor masculinity – Henry VIII – established an
extremely excessive mode in male dress, so this in itself was not
‘effeminate’. It is artifice – false outward
– reshaped in their becoming English,
just as their personal narratives were reshaped to make them millenarian
beacons affirming England’s godly destiny and lighting the way for
their compatriots to follow. For instance, Chinano’s
‘Turkish’ masculinity, one repeatedly associated by writers
and dramatists with excessive lust and sodomy, seems to have been reformed,
if not erased, in his public baptism; it
Lust, luxury and empire in John Fletcher and Philip Massinger’s The False One
While Scaeva takes his leave, Cleopatra kneels before the general in order to submit to him completely, thereby prompting another salacious line by the centurion – ‘Lower you’le be anon. […] And privater’ (II.iii.131) – which, in spite of its predictability, effectively emphasises the sexual overtones of this first encounter, while at the same time ridiculing the chivalrous register used earlier. Cleopatra appeals to Caesar's generosity as much as to his masculinity, just as a damsel in distress would conventionally address a noble knight in a medieval romance (II