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Early Modern Cultural Studies 1500–1700

Plotting Motherhood in Medieval, Early Modern, and Modern Literature

Authors: Rose, Mary Beth

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  • Encompasses a wide range of literary history, tracing the motherhood plot from medieval through modern literature
  • Offers a compelling resource and argument for not only scholars of drama but also literature, gender studies, and queer theory
  • Fills a gap of a comprehensive study that traces motherhood as a plot device throughout the modern era.
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eBook $84.99
price for USA (gross)
  • ISBN 978-3-319-40454-7
  • Digitally watermarked, DRM-free
  • Included format: EPUB, PDF
  • ebooks can be used on all reading devices
  • Immediate eBook download after purchase
Hardcover $109.99
price for USA
  • ISBN 978-3-319-40453-0
  • Free shipping for individuals worldwide
  • Usually dispatched within 3 to 5 business days.
Softcover $109.99
price for USA
  • ISBN 978-3-319-82105-4
  • Free shipping for individuals worldwide
  • Usually dispatched within 3 to 5 business days.
About this book

This book explores the inconsistent literary representations of motherhood in diverse texts ranging from the fourth to the twentieth centuries. Mary Beth Rose unearths plots startling in their frequency and redundancy that struggle to accommodate —or to obliterate—the complex assertions of maternal authority as it challenges traditional family and social structures. The analysis engages two mother plots: the dead mother plot, in which the mother is dying or dead; and the living mother plot, in which the mother is alive and through her very presence in the text, puts often unbearable pressure on the mechanics of the plot.  These plots reappear and are transformed by authors as diverse in chronology and use of literary form as Augustine, Shakespeare, Milton, Oscar Wilde, and Tony Kushner. The book argues that, insofar as women become the second sex, it is not because they are females per se but because they are mothers; at the same time the analysis probes the transformative political and social potential of motherhood as it appears in contemporary texts like Angels in America.

About the authors

Mary Beth Rose is Professor of English at the University of Illinois at Chicago, USA. Formerly editor of Renaissance Drama, she is the author of Gender and Heroism in Early Modern English Literature; The Expense of Spirit: Love and Sexuality in English Renaissance Drama;  and co-editor of Elizabeth I: Collected Works.  

Reviews

“This book makes a strong, original, and often dazzling argument for the transhistorical significance of plots centering on the problematic authority vested in mothers—both dead and dying ones, and those whose living presence puts enormous pressure on the plots that seek to contain them. Through incisive analyses of texts ranging from Augustine’s Confessions through Shakespearean and other early modern dramas to the 2011 Hollywood film The Descendants, Rose offers a fresh diagnosis of a seemingly intractable problem: social inequality based on gender.” (Margaret Ferguson, Distinguished Professor of English, University of California, Davis, USA)

“Where are the mothers in Shakespeare? Mary Beth Rose is known for asking basic questions and developing fresh answers. This book analyzes what Rose wittily calls the ‘dead mother plot’ and ‘the living mother plot’ from their early Western instantiations in St. Augustine’s Confessions through Chaucer, Shakespeare, and Milton to conflicted attempts to revise these plots in the comedies of Oscar Wilde and their triumphal queering in the drama of Tony Kushner.” (Leah S. Marcus, Edwin Mims Professor of English, Vanderbilt University, USA)

 

Table of contents (8 chapters)

Table of contents (8 chapters)
  • Introduction: Plotting Motherhood in Medieval, Early Modern, and Modern Literature

    Rose, Mary Beth

    Pages 1-14

  • Time, Narrative, and Maternity in Augustine’s Confessions

    Rose, Mary Beth

    Pages 15-41

  • Maternal Abandonment, Maternal Deprivation: Tales of Griselda in Boccaccio, Petrarch, Chaucer, and Shakespeare

    Rose, Mary Beth

    Pages 43-71

  • Maternal Authority and the Conflicts It Generates in Early Modern Dramatic Plots

    Rose, Mary Beth

    Pages 73-104

  • Milton and Maternal Authority: Why Is the Virgin Mary in Paradise Regained?

    Rose, Mary Beth

    Pages 105-122

Buy this book

eBook $84.99
price for USA (gross)
  • ISBN 978-3-319-40454-7
  • Digitally watermarked, DRM-free
  • Included format: EPUB, PDF
  • ebooks can be used on all reading devices
  • Immediate eBook download after purchase
Hardcover $109.99
price for USA
  • ISBN 978-3-319-40453-0
  • Free shipping for individuals worldwide
  • Usually dispatched within 3 to 5 business days.
Softcover $109.99
price for USA
  • ISBN 978-3-319-82105-4
  • Free shipping for individuals worldwide
  • Usually dispatched within 3 to 5 business days.
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Bibliographic Information

Bibliographic Information
Book Title
Plotting Motherhood in Medieval, Early Modern, and Modern Literature
Authors
Series Title
Early Modern Cultural Studies 1500–1700
Copyright
2017
Publisher
Palgrave Macmillan
Copyright Holder
The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s)
eBook ISBN
978-3-319-40454-7
DOI
10.1007/978-3-319-40454-7
Hardcover ISBN
978-3-319-40453-0
Softcover ISBN
978-3-319-82105-4
Edition Number
1
Number of Pages
XIII, 192
Number of Illustrations
6 illustrations in colour
Topics