Catalogue


Erotic subjects : the sexuality of politics in early modern English literature /
Melissa E. Sanchez.
imprint
New York : Oxford University Press, c2011.
description
xi, 283 p. ; 25 cm.
ISBN
0199754756 (cloth : acid-free paper), 9780199754755 (cloth : acid-free paper)
format(s)
Book
Holdings
More Details
imprint
New York : Oxford University Press, c2011.
isbn
0199754756 (cloth : acid-free paper)
9780199754755 (cloth : acid-free paper)
contents note
Erotic subjects in English history -- "She therein ruling": hagiographic politics in the Countess of Pembroke's Arcadia -- "Who can loue the worker of her smart?": tyrannous seduction in The faerie queene -- "Accessory yieldings": consent without agency in The rape of Lucrece and Pericles -- "Love, thou dost master me": political masochism in Mary Wroth's Urania -- "It is consent that makes a perfect slave": love and liberty in the Caroline Masque -- "Honest Margaret Newcastle": law and desire in Margaret Cavendish's romances -- "My self/before me": the erotics of republicanism in Paradise lost -- "Lives there who loves his pain?".
catalogue key
7627347
 
Includes bibliographical references (p. 245-271) and index.
A Look Inside
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Choice on 2011-10-01:
Since at least the time that Louis Montrose appeared on the critical scene, scholars have understood that early-modern writers used the language of love to talk about politics, especially in the court of Elizabeth I. Sanchez (Univ. of Pennsylvania) adds to this understanding by looking closely at the specific romantic and sexual language in a wide variety of works, from well-known pieces (The Faerie Queene, Paradise Lost) to obscure ones (Caroline masques). Her fascinating conclusions enrich understanding of the period in several ways. First, she engages with the common trope of love as suffering and submission rather than glossing over the idea, which is often uncomfortable for modern readers. Second, by tracing these tropes from Sidney to Milton, she shows how these writers commented and built on each other. Third, her nuanced, detailed explications of early-modern politics illuminate the works in new ways. Finally, by employing queer theory, Sanchez offers a much more complex reading of gender in both the political realm and the literature. This thoughtful book offers much to anyone interested in early-modern literature, politics, religion, or sexuality. Summing Up: Highly recommended. Upper-division undergraduates through faculty. A. Castaldo Widener University
Reviews
Review Quotes
an exemplary piece of research a study, which, in brief, exhibits considerable range, shrewd, perceptive readings, and interpretations of literary-historical textual data, and well-informed and intelligent engagement with current critical debates.
"Sympathetic and imaginative, this elegantly written book illuminates the interrelation of eros and politics in ways that are refreshingly honest about the risky but real pleasure of submission to power. Sanchez traces the implications of such pleasure for Renaissance texts by both men and women with a subtlety that makes submitting toErotic Subjectsan unambiguous delight." --Anne Prescott, Barnard College "This is an accomplished and professional piece of work.Erotic Subjectsshows how early modern works overtly concerned with love and desire are in fact fraught with reflection upon contemporary politics, as the relations of wooer and wooed, whether compliant or resistant, allegorize the relations between ruler and ruled. Sanchez writes fluently and engagingly, dealing in complex concepts and their nuances while taking her reader with her." --Helen Hackett, University College London "That the personal is political has been a truism since the feminist movement of the 1970s. That the political might equally be personal is no less true, but until Sanchez, no one has leveraged this insight to analyze political thinking in Renaissance literature. Sanchez's feminist reading of political attachment is thoroughly informed by a queer theory made perversely and elegantly relevant to a broad range of early modern writers." --Valerie Traub, University of Michigan
"The intelligence, ambition, and sheer scale of this project merit an especially careful study by all early modernists." --Studies in English Literature 1500-1900 "Deepens our understanding of the ways that sex was political and politics was sexual in the early modern period...This book is a welcome de-centering of marriage and reproduction in discussions of early modern political theory." --Comparative Drama "Sympathetic and imaginative, this elegantly written book illuminates the interrelation of eros and politics in ways that are refreshingly honest about the risky but real pleasure of submission to power. Sanchez traces the implications of such pleasure for Renaissance texts by both men and women with a subtlety that makes submitting toErotic Subjectsan unambiguous delight." --Anne Prescott, Barnard College "This is an accomplished and professional piece of work.Erotic Subjectsshows how early modern works overtly concerned with love and desire are in fact fraught with reflection upon contemporary politics, as the relations of wooer and wooed, whether compliant or resistant, allegorize the relations between ruler and ruled. Sanchez writes fluently and engagingly, dealing in complex concepts and their nuances while taking her reader with her." --Helen Hackett, University College London "That the personal is political has been a truism since the feminist movement of the 1970s. That the political might equally be personal is no less true, but until Sanchez, no one has leveraged this insight to analyze political thinking in Renaissance literature. Sanchez's feminist reading of political attachment is thoroughly informed by a queer theory made perversely and elegantly relevant to a broad range of early modern writers." --Valerie Traub, University of Michigan "Erotic Subjectsintroduces a rich new vocabulary to early modern studies, and to the study of English literature in particular...It is a testament toErotic subjectsthat sexuality takes on new meanings for its readers -- that Sanchez, like Freyd and Deleuze, expands the very definition of sexuality in her attention to pleasure, desire, and love beyond scenes personal and domestic. It is thus a valuable addition -- even a corrective -- to a growing archive of scholarly works on early modern poetry and politics."--Sixteenth Century Journal
This item was reviewed in:
Choice, October 2011
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Summaries
Bowker Data Service Summary
This volume demonstrates that if we treat 16th- and 17th-century erotic literature as part of English political history, both fields of study will look rather different. Sanchez traces implications of two early modern commonplaces.
Long Description
Treating sixteenth- and seventeenth-century erotic literature as part of English political history, Erotic Subjects traces some surprising implications of two early modern commonplaces: first, that love is the basis of political consent and obedience, and second, that suffering is an intrinsic part of love. Rather than dismiss such assumptions as mere conventions, Melissa Sanchez uncovers the political import of early modern literature's fascination witheroticized violence. Focusing on representations of masochism, sexual assault, and cross-gendered identification, Sanchez re-examines the work of politically active writers from Philip Sidney to John Milton. She argues that political allegiance and consent appear far less conscious anddeliberate than traditional historical narratives allow when Sidney depicts abjection as a source of both moral authority and sexual arousal; when Edmund Spenser and William Shakespeare make it hard to distinguish between rape and seduction; when Mary Wroth and Margaret Cavendish depict women who adore treacherous or abusive lovers; when court masques stress the pleasures of enslavement; or when Milton insists that even Edenic marriage is hopelessly pervaded by aggression and self-loathing.Sanchez shows that this literature constitutes an alternate tradition of political theory that acknowledges the irrational and perverse components of power and thereby disrupts more conventional accounts of politics as driven by self-interest, false consciousness, or brute force.Erotic Subjects will be of interest to students and scholars of early modern literary and political history, as well as those interested in the histories of gender, sexuality, and affect more generally.
Main Description
Erotic Subjects demonstrates that if we treat sixteenth- and seventeenth-century erotic literature as part of English political history, both fields of study will look rather different. In this important new book, Sanchez traces some surprising implications of two early modern commonplaces: first, that love is the basis of political consent and obedience, and second, that suffering is an intrinsic part of love. Rather than dismiss such commonplaces as mere convention, Sanchez uncovers the political import of early modern literature's fascination with erotic violence. Focusing on representations of masochism, sexual assault, and cross-gendered identification, Sanchez re-examines the work of politically active writers from Philip Sidney to John Milton. She argues that political allegiance and consent appear far less conscious and deliberate than traditional historical narratives allow when Sidney depicts abjection as a source of both moral authority and sexual arousal; when Edmund Spenser and William Shakespeare make it hard to distinguish between rape and seduction; when Mary Wroth and Margaret Cavendish depict women who adore treacherous or abusive lovers; when court masques stress the pleasures of enslavement; or when Milton insists that even Edenic marriage is hopelessly pervaded by aggression and self-loathing. Sanchez shows that this literature constitutes an alternate tradition of political theory that acknowledges the irrational and perverse components of power and thereby disrupts more conventional accounts of politics as driven by self-interest, false consciousness, or brute force. Erotic Subjects will be of interest to students and scholars of early modern literary and political history, as well as those interested in the histories of gender, sexuality, and affect more generally.
Main Description
Erotic Subjectsdemonstrates that if we treat sixteenth- and seventeenth-century erotic literature as part of English political history, both fields of study will look rather different. In this important new book, Sanchez traces some surprising implications of two early modern commonplaces: first, that love is the basis of political consent and obedience, and second, that suffering is an intrinsic part of love. Rather than dismiss such commonplaces as mere convention, Sanchez uncovers the political import of early modern literature's fascination with erotic violence. Focusing on representations of masochism, sexual assault, and cross-gendered identification, Sanchez re-examines the work of politically active writers from Philip Sidney to John Milton. She argues that political allegiance and consent appear far less conscious and deliberate than traditional historical narratives allow when Sidney depicts abjection as a source of both moral authority and sexual arousal; when Edmund Spenser and William Shakespeare make it hard to distinguish between rape and seduction; when Mary Wroth and Margaret Cavendish depict women who adore treacherous or abusive lovers; when court masques stress the pleasures of enslavement; or when Milton insists that even Edenic marriage is hopelessly pervaded by aggression and self-loathing. Sanchez shows that this literature constitutes an alternate tradition of political theory that acknowledges the irrational and perverse components of power and thereby disrupts more conventional accounts of politics as driven by self-interest, false consciousness, or brute force. Erotic Subjectswill be of interest to students and scholars of early modern literary and political history, as well as those interested in the histories of gender, sexuality, and affect more generally.
Main Description
Treating sixteenth- and seventeenth-century erotic literature as part of English political history,Erotic Subjectstraces some surprising implications of two early modern commonplaces: first, that love is the basis of political consent and obedience, and second, that suffering is an intrinsic part of love. Rather than dismiss such assumptions as mere conventions, Melissa Sanchez uncovers the political import of early modern literature's fascination with eroticized violence. Focusing on representations of masochism, sexual assault, and cross-gendered identification, Sanchez re-examines the work of politically active writers from Philip Sidney to John Milton. She argues that political allegiance and consent appear far less conscious and deliberate than traditional historical narratives allow when Sidney depicts abjection as a source of both moral authority and sexual arousal; when Edmund Spenser and William Shakespeare make it hard to distinguish between rape and seduction; when Mary Wroth and Margaret Cavendish depict women who adore treacherous or abusive lovers; when court masques stress the pleasures of enslavement; or when Milton insists that even Edenic marriage is hopelessly pervaded by aggression and self-loathing. Sanchez shows that this literature constitutes an alternate tradition of political theory that acknowledges the irrational and perverse components of power and thereby disrupts more conventional accounts of politics as driven by self-interest, false consciousness, or brute force. Erotic Subjectswill be of interest to students and scholars of early modern literary and political history, as well as those interested in the histories of gender, sexuality, and affect more generally.
Table of Contents
Introductionp. 3
Erotic Subjects in English Historyp. 11
"She Therein Ruling": Hagiographic Politics in The Countess of Pembroke's Arcadiap. 31
"Who Can Loue the Worker of Her Smart?": Tyrannous Seduction in The Faerie Queenep. 57
"Accessory Yieldings": Consent Without Agency in The Rape of Lucrece and Periclesp. 87
"Love, Thou Dost Master Me": Political Masochism in Mary Wroth's Uraniap. 117
"It Is Consent that Makes a Perfect Slave": Love and Liberty in the Caroline Masquep. 145
"Honest Margaret Newcastle": Law and Desire in Margaret Cavendish's Romancesp. 177
"My Self / Before Me": The Erotics of Republicanism in Paradise Lostp. 207
Conclusion: "Lives There Who Loves His Pain?"p. 239
Bibliographyp. 245
Indexp. 273
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

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