By Margaret W. Ferguson

ISBN-10: 0226243117

ISBN-13: 9780226243115

ISBN-10: 0226243125

ISBN-13: 9780226243122

ISBN-10: 0226243184

ISBN-13: 9780226243184

Winner of the 2004 ebook Award from the Society for the research of Early sleek ladies and the 2003 Roland H. Bainton Prize for Literature from the 16th Century Society and Conference.Our universal definition of literacy is the power to learn and write in a single language. yet as Margaret Ferguson unearths in Dido's Daughters, this description is insufficient, since it fails to aid us comprehend heated conflicts over literacy in the course of the emergence of print tradition. The 15th via 17th centuries, she indicates, have been a contentious period of transition from Latin and different clerical modes of literacy towards extra vernacular varieties of speech and writing.Fegurson's objective during this long-awaited paintings is twofold: to teach that what counted as extra important between those competing literacies had a lot to do with notions of gender, and to illustrate how debates approximately woman literacy have been serious to the emergence of imperial international locations. taking a look at writers whom she dubs the figurative daughters of the mythological determine Dido—builder of an empire that threatened to rival Rome—Ferguson lines debates approximately literacy and empire within the works of Marguerite de Navarre, Christine de Pizan, Elizabeth Cary, and Aphra Behn, in addition to male writers akin to Shakespeare, Rabelais, and Wyatt. the result's a examine that sheds new mild at the the most important roles that gender and girls performed within the modernization of britain and France.

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Extra info for Dido's Daughters: Literacy, Gender, and Empire in Early Modern England and France

Sample text

The historical process whereby different kinds of truth-claims were articulated and competed for authority has recently been    the object of much scholarly discussion; in this book I call attention to some of the ways in which ideologies of gender served to distinguish valuable language uses—and genres of discourse—from ones deemed less valuable or less authoritative. In a telling scene in The Rivals (1773), Sheridan’s Mrs. Malaprop interrupts Lydia’s thought process to exclaim, “You thought, Miss!

59 In her Book of the City of Ladies (1405) Christine de Pizan makes the bull’s hide story a centerpiece of an allegorical reading of Dido that draws on elements of both the Vergilian and nonVergilian traditions to explore Dido’s double role as colonizer and as victim of another’s colonizing mission. ” De Pizan takes up the gauntlet Vergil throws down by exploiting various aspects of Dido’s textual remains to recreate her as a hybrid figure for the female writer/reader’s self-elected role as the builder of a city of ladies on a “field of letters” occupied mainly by men.

Even today,” Hexter remarks, “the details of the Phoenician pantheon and its cultic history are not easily recuperated. , 347). Because Dido comes to us from a culture that has left few historical records    in the form of alphabetic texts, her story dramatizes problems having to do with literate culture’s representations of modes of being perceived both as female (or effeminate) and as illiterate in the sense of lacking in what the dominant culture defines as necessary knowledge. From the fourteenth century at least, Adam Fox has argued, the phrase “‘old wives’ tale’ was synonymous with tale-telling”; and by the sixteenth century in England, “old wives’ tale” connoted “any story, tradition, or belief which was thought to be inconsequential or false” (Oral and Literate Culture, 175).

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Dido's Daughters: Literacy, Gender, and Empire in Early Modern England and France by Margaret W. Ferguson

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