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Writing, Gender and State in Early Modern England
Identity Formation and the Female Subject

Part of Cambridge Studies in Renaissance Literature and Culture

  • Date Published: December 2006
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9780521035217


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About the Authors
  • The period from the Reformation to the English Civil War saw an evolving understanding of social identity in England. This book uses four illuminating case studies to chart a discursive shift from mid-sixteenth-century notions of an individually generated, spiritually motivated sense of identity, to Civil War perceptions of the self as inscribed by the state and inflected according to gender, a site of civil and sexual invigilation and control. Each centres on the work of an early modern woman writer in the act of self-definition and authorization, in relation to external powers such as the Church and the monarchy. Megan Matchinske's study illustrates the evolving relationships between public and private selves and the increasing role of gender in determining different identities for men and women. The conjunction of gender and statehood in Matchinske's analysis represents an original contribution to the study of early modern identity.

    • The first study to bring together the roles of gender and nationhood in forming early modern notions of identity
    • Provides both large-scale historical developments (theorizing social change over a century) and detailed case studies
    • Case studies centre on four early modern women writers engaged in self-definition in resisting the authority of Church and state
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    Reviews & endorsements

    '… is a bold and much-needed attempt to analyse the relationship between women and the state.' The Times Literary Supplement

    '… succeed[s] in emphasising the variety of early modern women's writing.' The Times Higher Education Supplement

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    Product details

    • Date Published: December 2006
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9780521035217
    • length: 264 pages
    • dimensions: 228 x 151 x 17 mm
    • weight: 0.401kg
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. Resistance, Reformation, and the remaining narratives
    2. Framing recusant identity in counter-Reformation England
    3. Legislating morality in the marriage market
    4. Gender formation in English apocalyptic writing
    5. Connections, qualifications, and agendas

  • Author

    Megan Matchinske, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

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