Non-Fiction Books:

The Cultural Identity of Seventeenth-Century Woman

A Reader


Paperback / softback

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The Cultural Identity of Seventeenth-Century Woman

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This anthology brings together extracts from a wide variety of seventeenth-century sources to illustrate the ways in which the cultural notion of woman' was then constructed. Although the dominant ideology was unquestionably patriarchal, and many of its manifestations were misogynistic, and determined to keep women in their place, it was also diverse, self-questioning, contradictory and committed to loving rather than authoritarian relations between the sexes. Two hundred passages are topically arranged to represent the chief contexts in which women were anatomized, described, admonished, berated, imaged, exemplified, lectured and eulogised. Subjects covered include: the female body and sexuality; the significance of female beauty; female vices and virtues; marrige, adultery and divorce; wifely and maternal duties; women's work and involvement in public affairs; and women's role as the inspiration and object of artistic imagination. Four final sections illustrate subversive ideas, trangressive behaviour and radical challenges to patriarchalism which anticipate later feminist arguments. Each chapter has a helpful introduction which highlights the major issues and gives context to the extracts. This fascinating collection of opinions from both men and women will prove an invaluable sourcebook, critically informing discussion of the key issues of gender and identity in the seventeenth century.
Release date NZ
October 20th, 1994
Edited by N.H. Keeble
Country of Publication
United Kingdom
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