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EN917 Modes of Masculinity in Renaissance Poetry: a literary psychoanalytic approach

NB - this module will not be available 2009-10

Tutor: Catherine Bates
Spring Term: Tuesday 6.30-8.30

This module investigates representations of masculinity in English Renaissance poetry from Wyatt to Pope. The first part of the module will concentrate on the sonnet sequence as a form which focuses particularly on questions of male self-authoring and on masculine subjectivity. We will look at sonnets by Wyatt, Sidney, Spenser, Greville, and Shakespeare, among others, in order to examine the dynamics of mastery and enslavement that are set up within the typical courtly love situation, and we will consider issues such as male abjection, passivity, feminization and homosexuality as they are rehearsed and explored within these texts. Our study of the Renaissance sonnet will be set within the wider context of the troubadour and Petrarchan lyric, and will lead to an exploration of masculinity as it appears in other poetic forms of the early modern period. We will look, for example, at the female complaint poem which traditionally concluded sonnet sequences and in which the male poet speaks in the voice of a jilted woman. We will consider various epistolary forms (forms in which, as Barthes suggests, the man is "miraculously feminized"), including Donne?s lesbian love-poem Sappho to Philaenis and Pope?s Eloisa to Abelard. We will examine the carpe diem theme, and look in particular at the male?s ambivalent self-representation in poems by Marvell. We will work on poems about male impotence by Shakespeare, Nashe, Rochester, and Behn, and we will think about ways in which the tropes of courtly love lend themselves so well to self-parody and to deconstructive wit. Throughout the module we will consider different critical traditions and the ways they have dealt with questions of masculinity and courtly love, and in particular we will explore psychoanalytic notions of abjection and the split subject which radically put into question wishful narratives of mastery and self-possession.


Indicative Set Reading

Primary Texts
Students will find Elizabethan Sonnets, ed. Maurice Evans (Everyman, 1997) a useful working edition, although they are encouraged to supplement this with editions of individual poets:
Samuel Daniel, Poems and A Defence of Rhyme, ed. A Colby Sprague (Chigago University Press, 1930).
Petrarch?s Lyric Poems ed. and trans. Robert M Durling (Havard University Press 1976).
William Shakespeare, The Sonnets and A Lover?s Complaint, ed. John Kerrigan
(Penguin 1986).
Sir Philip Sidney, Selected Poems, ed. Catherine Bates (Penguin 1994).
Edmund Spenser, Shorter Poems ed. W.A. Oram et al (Yale University Press, 1989).

Secondary Texts
Janet Adelman, Suffocating Mothers: Fantasies of Maternal Origin in Shakespeare?s Plays, (London: Routeldge, 1992)
Roland Barthes, A Lover?s Discourse, trans. Richard Howard (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1978)
Leo Bersani, The Freudian Body: Psychoanalysis and Art (New York, 1986)
Alan Bray, Homosexuality in Renaissance England (London: Gay Men?s Press, 1982)
Mark Breitenberg, Anxious Masculinity in Early Modern England (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1996)
Lynn Enterline, The Tears of Narcissus: Melancholia and Masculinity in Early Modern Writing (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1995)
Joel Fineman, Shakespeare?s Perjured Eye (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1986); The Subjectivity Effect in the Western Literary Tradition (Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 1981)
Michel Foucault, The History of Sexuality, vol i, trans. Robert Hurley (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1978)
Sigmund Freud, "Contributions to the Psychology of Love", "Mourning and Melancholia", "Narcissism: An Introduction", etc
Jonathan Goldberg, Sodometries: Renaissance Texts, Modern Sexualities (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1992)
Margreta de Grazia, Maureen Quilligan, and Peter Stallybrass eds., Subject and Object in Renaissance Culture (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1996)
Paul Hammond, Love Between Men in English Literature (1996)
Elizabeth Harvey, Ventriloquized Voices: Feminist Theory and English Renaissance Texts (London, 1992)
Lorna Hutson, The Usurer?s Daughter: Male Friendship and Fictions of Women in C16 England (London, 1994)
Coppélia Kahn, Man?s Estate: Masculine Identity in Shakespeare (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1981)
John Kerrigan ed., Motives of Woe: Shakespeare and "Female Complaint" (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1991)
Julia Kristeva, Black Sun: Depression and Melancholia, trans. Leon S. Roudiez (New York: Columbia University Press, 1989); Powers of Horror: An Essays on Abjection, trans. Leon S. Roudiez (New York: Columbia University Press, 1982); Tales of Love, trans. Leon S. Roudiez (New York: Columbia University Press, 1987)
Jacques Lacan, Écrits: A Selection, trans. Alan Sheridan (London: Routledge, 1977)
Juliet Mitchell and Jacqueline Rose eds., Feminine Sexuality (London: Macmillan, 1982)
Lyndal Roper, Oedipus and the Devil: Witchcraft, Sexuality and Religion in Early Modern Europe (London: Routledge, 1994)
Denis de Rougement, Love in the Western World
Juliana Schiesari, The Gendering of Melancholia: Feminism, Psychoanalysis, and the Symbolics of Loss in Renaissance Literature (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1992)
Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick, Between Men: English Literature and Male Homosexual Desire (New York, 1985)
Kaja Silverman, Male Subjectivity at the Margins (London: Routledge, 1994)
Michael Spiller, The Development of the Sonnet (London: Routledge, 1992)
Valerie Traub, Desire and Anxiety: Circulations of Sexuality in Shakespearean Drama (London: Routledge, 1992)
James Turner ed., Sexuality and Gender in Early Modern Europe (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1993)
Wendy Wall, The Imprint of Gender: Authorship and Publication in the English Renaissance (Ithaca, 1993)
Marguerite Waller, Petrarch?s Poetics and Literary History (Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press, 1980)
William Zunder and Suzanne Trill, eds., Writing and the English Renaissance (London, 1996)