Cloth $56.00 ISBN: 9780226725727 Published January 2002
Paper $26.00 ISBN: 9780226725734 Published January 2002

Gender and Heroism in Early Modern English Literature

Mary Beth Rose

Gender and Heroism in Early Modern English Literature
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Mary Beth Rose

144 pages | 5-1/2 x 8-1/2 | © 2001
Cloth $56.00 ISBN: 9780226725727 Published January 2002
Paper $26.00 ISBN: 9780226725734 Published January 2002
For most readers and spectators, heroism takes the form of public, idealized masculinity. It calls to mind socially and morally elevated men embarking on active adventures: courageously confronting danger; valiantly rescuing the helpless; exploring and claiming unconquered terrain. But in this book, Mary Beth Rose argues that from the late sixteenth to the late seventeenth centuries, a passive, more female, but equally potent dimension of heroic identity began to dominate English culture. For both men and women, heroism came to be defined in terms of patience, as the ability to endure suffering, catastrophe, and pain.

Interweaving discourses of gender, Rose explores ways in which this heroics of endurance became the dominant model. She examines the glamorous, failed destinies of heroes in plays by Shakespeare, Jonson, and Marlowe; Elizabeth I's creation of a heroic identity in her public speeches; the autobiographies of four ordinary women thrust into the public sphere by civil war; and the seduction of heroes into slavery in works by Milton, Aphra Behn, and Mary Astell. Ultimately, her study demonstrates the importance of the female in the creation of modern heroism, while offering a critique of both idealized action and suffering.
Contents
Acknowledgments
Prologue
1.
"The observed of all observers": The Gendering of Heroism in Marlowe, Jonson, and Shakespeare
2.
Gender and the Construction of Royal Authority in the Speeches of Elizabeth I
3.
Gender, Genre, and History: Female Heroism in Seventeenth-Century Autobiography
4.
"Vigorous most / When most unactive deem’d": Gender and the Heroics of Endurance in Milton’s Samson Agonistes, Aphra Behn’s Oroonoko, and Mary Astell’s Some Reflections upon Marriage
Epilogue
Notes
Index
For more information, or to order this book, please visit http://www.press.uchicago.edu
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