The Usurer's Daughter: Male Friendship and Fictions of Women in Sixteenth-Century England

The Usurer's Daughter: Male Friendship and Fictions of Women in Sixteenth-Century England

The Usurer's Daughter: Male Friendship and Fictions of Women in Sixteenth-Century England

The Usurer's Daughter: Male Friendship and Fictions of Women in Sixteenth-Century England

Synopsis

The Usurer's Daughter provides an entirely new approach to sixteenth-century literature, covering a wide range of classical and continental as well as English texts, including Shakespeare. Original scholarship and critical sophistication combine in this book to reveal links between the complex legal and economic workings of sixteenth-century culture and the representation of women in the literature of this period. The Usurer's Daughter makes an outstanding contribution to its field and is a must-read for those interested in feminist and materialist approaches to the Renaissance.

Excerpt

Shortly before the close of adventures in the first book of Diego Ortunez’s Espejo de Principes y Cavalleros, translated by Margaret Tyler as The Mirrour of Princely deedes and Knighthood (1578), the Emperor Trebatio of Greece, famous, invincible and no less than eight feet tall, is hastening back to the Princess Briana, whom he left long ago in a cloister by a river between the Hungarian cities of Buda and Belgrado. Having been unfortunately sequestered on an island for twenty years by the enchantress Lindaraza, Trebatio had been unaware of Briana’s having borne him two sons, Rosicleer and Donzel del Febo (the Knight of the Sun), who have, in the intervening chapters, performed the ‘princely deedes’ that have made them ‘mirrours’ of knighthood, reflecting the virtue of their lineal ancestry, even in its obscurity. Even as the narrative defies credulity, assuring us that Trebatio is, by magic, the same age (35) as he was when he left, bringing Briana (who was 14 then) to ‘just one yere under him’, it exhibits a somewhat surprising topographical precision, specifying the exact door through which the knight will pass before he is reunited with his beloved. Briana’s lodging is, we are reminded, in a separate quarter of the cloister (which is throughout called a ‘monastery’):

Wherto she had a posterne gate towardes the wood, by which Clandestria had carryed Donzel del Febo and Rosicleer to nursing, & by this gate no man either entred or went out but by Clandestrias leave. Shee was groome porter and kept the key hir selfe. and for to cover this matter which the Emperour . . .

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