The Invention of the Renaissance Woman: The Challenge of Female Independence in the Literature and Thought of Italy and England

By Pamela Joseph Benson | Go to book overview

9

THE DEFENSE OF FEMALE REGIMENT: PRACTICAL POLITICS

To turn from the popular defense of women to the defense of rule by women during the reign of Elizabeth I is to turn from jest and play and a very traditional notion of woman to deepest seriousness in tone and in method of presentation and a confrontation with the independent woman of humanist thought. Gone are the obvious literary devices, the wit, the matching pro and contra cases, the references to Ovid and to the readers' own experience. The comic trope of the lover's self-defense and hope of advancement in love is replaced by extensive defense of the loyalty and patriotism of the author or his party and hope of advancement in the Queen's regard. These long and sober volumes present careful analysis of the case against rule by women and then give detailed answers to the objections on grounds natural, civil, and spiritual, buttressed with extensive references to canon and civil law and to the Bible.1 No one would have read them for pleasure; indeed, no one interested in the defense of womankind would have been likely to identify them as being relevant and read them. They are, however, important to this study as a practical offshoot of the humanist analysis of woman's social and political role. In them the tropes and strategies of the defense are used to close off discussion, not to provoke it.

The need for such defenses arose at the accession of Elizabeth I, when John Knox challenged the Queen's right to the throne and her capacity for authority in his First Blast of the Trumpet against the Monstruous regiment of women (unwittingly, of course, as his object was to discredit Mary Tudor). The Queen's sex was perceived as a weakness in need of defense throughout most of her

____________________
1
Jordan points out that this method of argument is very different from that of the anti-woman rule party whose claims are "generally supported by an appeal to authority, chiefly scripture and Aristotle" ( Woman's Rule 426).

-231-

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
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

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

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
The Invention of the Renaissance Woman: The Challenge of Female Independence in the Literature and Thought of Italy and England
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Acknowledgments ix
  • Introduction 1
  • 1 9
  • 2 - From Praise to Paradox: The First Italian Defenses of Women 33
  • 3 65
  • 4 91
  • 5 123
  • 6 157
  • 7 183
  • 8 205
  • 9 231
  • 10 251
  • 11 281
  • Works Cited 307
  • Index 319
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?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this book
  • Bookmarks
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
/ 326

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, 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." (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.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.