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Helen Hackett

Chapter 7 Sisterhood and female friendship in Constance Aston Fowler’s verse miscellany Helen Hackett C urrent work on early modern women and poetry – including the present volume – is illuminating the relations between poetry and its social contexts. We are discovering that women’s poems were frequently produced in the family, the friendship group, the neighbourhood, or communities defined by shared political or religious affiliation, and that creative interactions within such communities took diverse and complex forms. We are also learning that early modern

in Early modern women and the poem
Editor: Susan Wiseman

In examining early modern women and the poem, this book explores how women use poetry, and how poems use women, in England and Scotland in the period 1550–1680. Several decades of critical writing on 'women's poetry', 'gender and poetry', and the representation of women, or gender, in poetry have produced a rich and complex critical and scholarly field. The book looks at the primary and secondary evidence concerning two key elements in the analysis of early modern women's writing, namely, women and the poem. It first explores the way women understood the poem in terms of the reception, influence and adaptation of past models and examples, working from the reception of classical texts. It focuses on the resources women writing poetry knew and encountered in chapters on classical inheritance, the religious sonnet sequence and the secular sonnet sequence. The book then examines the world of reading and readers, and looks at poems in terms of friendships, quarrels, competitions, coteries, networks and critical reception, both then and later. It also emphasises the tales that poems tell, and how those stories both register and shape the understanding of women and the poem in the world of potential readers. In examining women and the poem, the use of women as signifiers and bearers of meaning in poetry is as significant as women's literary production.

Emma Liggins

be seen as ‘sexually abnormal (or anomalous) rather than perverted . . .  the abnormal is not necessarily the diseased’.28 Dissociating abnormality from a more threatening perversion, she reiterated that ‘really affectionate friendship offers indeed the best of all solutions and compensations to the unmarried woman’, though this was again countered by the disclaimer that ‘where the true invert is concerned . . . the management of sex in friendship may offer a serious problem’.29 Female friendship then became strained or excessive, a poor substitute for women

in Odd women?
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Blending the Selves
Patsy Stoneman

solitary fires And hear the nations praising them far off!’ Female friendship was an important counterweight to domesticity, but very few even of the avowed feminists of the period wanted to remove women from the home (cf Banks: 48–9; W: 70). Many sympathised with Elizabeth Gaskell’s dislike of ‘speech-making. . . and such noisy obtrusive ways of “doing good”’ (L 123). Florence Nightingale, whom she admired to adulation (e.g. L 211), posed a problem for Elizabeth Gaskell because of her lack of human ties; ‘she has no friend – and she wants none . . . . She and I had a

in Elizabeth Gaskell
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Author: Patsy Stoneman

This study portrays Elizabeth Gaskell as an important social analyst who deliberately challenged the Victorian disjunction between public and private ethical values, maintaining a steady resistance to aggressive authority and advocating female friendship, rational motherhood and the power of speech as forces for social change. Since 1987, Gaskell's work has risen from minor to major status. Despite a wealth of subsequent gender-oriented criticism, however, this book's combination of psychoanalytic and political analysis is challenging in its use of modern motherhood theories. It presents the original text unchanged (except for bibliographical updating), together with a new critical Afterword. The Afterword offers detailed evaluation of all the Gaskell criticism published between 1985 and 2004 that has a bearing on the book's subject, and thus provides both a wide-ranging debate on the social implications of motherhood and a survey of Gaskell criticism over the last twenty years. This edition, with an updated bibliography and index, will bring the book to a new audience, while also offering a comprehensive overview of current Gaskell studies.

Crossing boundaries and negotiating the cultural landscape
Author: Janice Norwood

Victorian touring actresses: Crossing boundaries and negotiating the cultural landscape provides a new perspective on the on- and offstage lives of women working in nineteenth-century theatre, and affirms the central role of touring, both within the United Kingdom and in North America and Australasia. Drawing on extensive archival research, it features a cross-section of neglected performers whose dramatic specialisms range from tragedy to burlesque. Although they were employed as stars in their own time, their contribution to the industry has largely been forgotten. The book’s innovative organisation follows a natural lifecycle, enabling a detailed examination of the practical challenges and opportunities typically encountered by the actress at each stage of her working life. Individual experiences are scrutinised to highlight the career implications of strategies adopted to cope with the demands of the profession, the physical potential of the actress’s body, and the operation of gendered power on and offstage. Analysis is situated in a wide contextual framework and reveals how reception and success depended on the performer’s response to the changing political, economic, social and cultural landscape as well as to developments in professional practice and organisation. The book concludes with discussion of the legacies of the performers, linking their experiences to the present-day situation.

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The material and visual culture of the Stuart Courts, 1589–1619
Author: Jemma Field

This book analyses Anna of Denmark’s material and visual patronage at the Stuart courts, examining her engagement with a wide array of expressive media including architecture, garden design, painting, music, dress, and jewellery. Encompassing Anna’s time in Denmark, England, and Scotland, it establishes patterns of interest and influence in her agency, while furthering our knowledge of Baltic-British transfer in the early modern period. Substantial archival work has facilitated a formative re-conceptualisation of James and Anna’s relationship, extended our knowledge of the constituents of consortship in the period, and has uncovered evidence to challenge the view that Anna followed the cultural accomplishments of her son, Prince Henry. This book reclaims Anna of Denmark as the influential and culturally active royal woman that her contemporaries knew. Combining politics, culture, and religion across the courts of Denmark, Scotland, and England, it enriches our understanding of royal women’s roles in early modern patriarchal societies and their impact on the development of cultural modes and fashions. This book will be of interest to upper level undergraduate and postgraduate students taking courses on early modern Europe in the disciplines of Art and Architectural History, English Literature, Theatre Studies, History, and Gender Studies. It will also attract a wide range of academics working on early modern material and visual culture, and female patronage, while members of the public who enjoy the history of courts and the British royals will also find it distinctively appealing.

Emma Liggins

challenged the view that mother­ hood was woman’s primary duty: Cobbe, amongst others, reiterated the duties of old maids and argued for the richness of their lives alongside ‘the proudest of mothers’ in her article ‘Celibacy v. Marriage’, which both reinforced the values of female friendship and fulfilling work and reminded readers of the ‘risks of an unhappy marriage’ destined for the divorce courts.12 The articles of Mary Taylor, a friend of Charlotte Brontë’s, for the feminist Victoria Magazine in the late 1860s questioned whether all middle-class women were actually

in Odd women?
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Emma Liggins

’s fiction. The woman writer’s knowing negotiation of ‘the sanctities of official narratives’14 has been seen to be at its most effective in certain autobiographical forms such as the private letter. However, the silences surrounding sexuality and female friendship, a form of self-censorship, are also apparent in women’s autobiographies, from the normalised female marriage of Frances Power Cobbe to the ‘unorthodox’, closeted lesbianism of Vita Sackville-West. The uses of masquerade and various forms of cross-dressing, identified as a common motif of women’s autobiography

in Odd women?
Marie Helena Loughlin

the sodomite. Critics have focused instead on women’s appropriation of amicitia and voluntary kinship, as well as a variety of literary discourses and tropes, such as the representation of the transvestite heroine (on stage and in prose romance); the representation of the loving relationships between women on the pre-Restoration and post-Restoration stage (e.g., Catharine Trotter’s Agnes de Castro: see 9.24), and in the late seventeenth-century poetry of female friendship; as well as the elegiac and pastoral modes used to express these relationships and contain any

in Same-Sex Desire in Early Modern England, 1550–1735