Spenser's Faerie Queene and the Reading of Women

Synopsis

"Spenser's female audience included not only his queen, Elizabeth I, but also many nonroyal women associated with the court. How might they have read The Faerie Queene, and how does the text register its awareness of this female reading community? Linking The Faerie Queene with early modern conduct manuals, romances, dedicatory epistles, and devotional literature, McManus examines the poem's depiction of women's interpretive strategies and argues that female readers were expected to exercise considerable autonomy as they endorsed, adapted, or resisted the texts that sought to fashion them as "chaste, silent, and obedient." A contribution both to Spenserian scholarship and to early modern gender studies, Spenser's Faerie Queene and the Reading of Women situates the poem's ambivalence about women's literacy within a larger cultural context." Title Summary field provided by Blackwell North America, Inc. All Rights Reserved