Fault Lines and Controversies in the Study of Seventeenth-Century English Literature

By Claude J. Summers; Ted-Larry Pebworth | Go to book overview

William Shullenberger


Milton's Lady and Lady Milton

Chastity, Prophecy, and Gender in
A Maske Presented at Ludlow Castle

It seems that whenever one ventures to comment on Milton, one risks treading on, and opening up, a fault line in the field of English Renaissance studies. This became startlingly evident to me at a recent conference, where I had read a paper on the poetics of the Lady's Echo Song in Milton's A Maske Presented at Ludlow Castle. The moderator of the panel took me to task for implying that Milton developed progressive attitudes toward women's roles and women's speech that were anachronistically at odds with seventeenth-century English Protestant conceptions of gender roles and relations in general, and with the evidence of Milton's misogyny in particular. I had not intended for the paper to be so provocative, in part because I had naively assumed that the gender wars of the 1970s and 1980s over Milton and women were behind us. Instead, I rediscovered that Milton—or that complex of text and history that we agree to designate “Milton”—continues to be a contested site, a fault line in the field, on this topic and many others. The following essay enters more directly into these controversies by considering Milton's imaginative gender crossing in his creation of, and identification with, the heroic Lady of his Maske. It is my contention that chastity in the Maske is the gender crossroad where Milton discovers his prophetic voice, and that this voice, as articulated by the Lady, activates and authorizes, rather than appropriates and suppresses, a public speaking site for liberatory female speech. The essay thus engages at least three unsettled and unsettling questions in contemporary Milton studies: the question of whether the radicalism of Milton the English revolutionary is already evident in his early poetry, the question of the meaning of chastity for Milton's poetry and poetics, and the question of Milton's politics and theology of gender. 1.

____________________
1.
Relevant critical texts that engage these questions will be cited in the course of the essay.

-204-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this book

This book has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this book

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Fault Lines and Controversies in the Study of Seventeenth-Century English Literature
Table of contents

Table of contents

Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen
/ 236

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.