The Feminine Reclaimed

The Feminine Reclaimed

The Idea of Woman in Spenser, Shakespeare, and Milton

by Stevie Davies

Published by: The University Press of Kentucky

288 pages

  • Hardcover
  • ISBN: 9780813115894
  • Published: January 1986



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The Feminine Reclaimed breaks new ground in the field of Renaissance scholarship. Stevie Davies considers the feminine principle as it was developed through the humanist and Neoplatonic revival of ancient classical learning and from this perspective approaches the major works of the three great literary figures of the English Renaissance -- Spenser, Shakespeare, and Milton.

Through close, perceptive readings of their most crucial works, informed by a familiarity with the whole range of their context in the European literature and thought of their time, Stevie Davies is able to demonstrate the great importance of the feminine principle in the consciousness of these writers and their age, a time of political, religious, and social upheaval in which perceptions of woman and her status in society underwent momentous changes. She analyzes guiding symbols, mythical allusions, and literary structures in major works by the three poets to show that this rediscovered image of the feminine was incorporated into The Faerie Queene, Shakespeare's last plays, and Paradise Lost in such a manner as to create an alternative system of values which either redefined or criticized the patriarchal structures of the contemporary world.