Changing The Subject
Mary Wroth and Figurations of Gender in Early Modern England
Naomi Miller offers an illuminating study of this significant early modern woman writer. Using multiple critical/theoretical perspectives, including French feminism, new historicism, and cultural materialism, she examines gender in Wroth's time. Moving beyond the emphasis on victimization that shaped many previous studies, she considers the range of strategies devised by women writers of the period to establish voices for themselves.
Where previous critics have viewed Wroth primarily in relation to her male literary predecessors in the Sidney family, Miller explores Wroth's engagement with a variety of discourses, reading her in relation to a broad range of English and continental authors, both male and female, from Sidney, Spenser, and Shakespeare to Aemilia Lanier, Elizabeth Cary, and Marguerite de Navarre. She also contextualizes Wroth's writing in relation to a variety of nonliterary texts of the period, both political and domestic. Thanks to Miller's sensitive readings, Wroth's writings provide a lens through which to view gender relations in the early modern period.
About the Author
"A step in the positive direction of providing a nuanced perspective by which to evaluate a woman's literary output, without losing sight of gender as a basis from critical analysis and without giving in to the seductiveness of essentialist criticism."—Seventeenth-Century News
"(Miller's) analyses are thoughtful, even illuminating, and her book will interest scholars who care about gender and early modern subjectivity, whether in Philip Sidney, Spenser, Shakespeare, Clifford, Lanyer, Cary, or Wroth."—Shakespeare Quarterly
"Miller's extensive research proves useful for those interested specifically in Wroth, or in the Sidney family more generally, be making use of family letters and related historical artifacts. . . . Miller's reading of texts is very often clever and both historically and psychologically insightful."—Sixteenth-Century Journal
"Significant not only for its superb analysis of Wroth's texts but also because it offers a model of feminist reading practice that will undoubtedly prove highly influential."—Year's Work in English Studies
Other Titles in HISTORY / Europe / Great Britain