In early modern England, boys and girls learned to be masculine or feminine as they learned to read and write. This 1999 book explores how gender differences, instilled through specific methods of instruction in literacy, were scrutinised in the English public theatre. Close readings of plays from Shakespeare's Love's Labour's Lost to Thomas Dekker's Whore of Babylon, and of poems, didactic treatises and autobiographical writings from the same period, offer a richly textured analysis of the interaction between didactic precepts, literary models, and historical men and women. At the cross-roads between literary studies and social and cultural history, Eve Sanders' research offers insights into poems, plays, and first-person narratives (including works by women writers, such as Mary Sidney and Anne Clifford) and into the social conflicts that shaped individuals as the writers and readers of such texts.
Winner of Society for the Study of Early Modern Women: Josephine A. Roberts Edition Award 1998.
Eve Rachele Sanders
Cambridge University Press
Date of Publication
Cambridge Studies in Renaissance Literature & Culture