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This collection of essays edited by Debra Barrett-Graves provides new ways of interpreting the symbolic images through which Renaissance queens shaped their identity and royal authority. In bringing together different approaches and sources, the authors use the methodologies of several disciplines: literature, history, art history and cultural studies.
Michel Foucault famously asserted that sexual identity was a modern invention, remarking, ‘The sodomite had been a temporary aberration; the homosexual was now a species’.(1) For Foucault, the vocabulary and specificity of modern sexual identity were largely formulated under the impetus of 19th-century sexology.
Chocolate, writes Emma Robertson in the introduction to her monograph, ‘has been invested with specific cultural meanings which are in part connected to … conditions of production’ (p. 3). At the heart of this study is a challenge to existing histories:
What was killing the girls of the Casa della Pietà? This is the question which recurs throughout Nicholas Terpstra’s study of the Pietà, a Florentine charitable shelter for orphaned and abandoned girls. According to Terpstra, the Pietà was ‘the most unsafe place in Florence for a girl to live’ (p.
In The Origin of the Family, Private Property and the State (1884), Friedrich Engels posited a fundamental relationship between women’s property rights, on the one hand, and changes in the social and political spheres, on the other.
In his new study of Anne Boleyn, George Bernard at no point defines the ‘fatal attractions’ to which his title refers. There is not even an assurance that no rabbits were harmed in the making of the book. Perhaps the title is deliberately polysemous, for we might think of at least six fatal, or metaphorically fatal, attractions exercised by the queen.
The Rituals and Rhetoric of Queenship; Medieval to Early Modern is a collection of papers which originated in a conference held at Canterbury Christ Church University in August 2006.
The Rule of Women in Early Modern Europe is a collection of papers which originated in a 2005 conference at the University of Miami. The women examined in the essays include queens regnant, consorts and various regents all of whom exercised power either in their own right or through their marital or familial ties.
Medieval and early modern literature is full of magic. Invisibility rings, magicians, damsels with healing potions, love potions and many more characters and devices add colour and glamour to the stories, as well as moving the plots in interesting directions. There are also a growing number of recent studies that focus explicitly on the role of magic in these literary works.
Johanna Rickman remarks that her book resulted from an apparently simple question: 'What happened to noblemen and noblewomen who engaged in extramarital sexual relationships?' (p. 1). She rightly insists that the answers shed light on the interactions of social status and gender, the role of the monarch, and relationships within and between elite kinship networks.