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EN917 Modes of Masculinity

(Module not available 2013-14)

MA Optional Module

Tutor: Professor Catherine Bates

Module description

 

This module investigates representations of masculinity in lyric poetry, and in particular those alternative or perverse masculinities that query the culturally sanctioned model of the ‘masterly’ male. The lyric tradition foregrounds a masculine subject that is disempowered, servile, and passive: he does not win the lady, does not win the argument, does not win the day. The module draws on psychoanalytic models of desire, perversion, and gender construction from the outset and is structured each week round a key theme (topics to be covered include perversion, masochism, melancholia, fetishism, and narcissism). The primary texts which we will discuss range from Ovid to Pope but the module will concentrate on the sonnet sequence as a form which focuses on questions of male self-authoring and masculine subjectivity with particular attention. We will look at sonnets by Petrarch, Wyatt, Sidney, Shakespeare and 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 such issues as male abjection, passivity, feminization, disempowerment, and homosexuality as they are explored and rehearsed within these texts. Our study of the Renaissance sonnet will be set within the wider context of Ovidian forms, medieval romance, and troubadour lyric, and it will lead to an exploration of masculinity as it appears in other poetic forms in the early modern period. We will look, for example, at the male-authored female complaint poem that traditionally concluded sonnet sequences and in which the male poet speaks in the voice of a seduced and abandoned woman.

Primary Texts

I plan to distribute a certain amount of material in class, but if you wish to purchase any texts for the module you might find the indicative list of primary texts below useful. Asterisked items are particularly recommended:

Anthology of Troubadour Lyric Poetry, ed. and trans. Alan R. Press (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 1971) - parallel texts

Troubadour Poems from the South of France, trans. W. D. Paden and F. F. Paden (Cambridge: D. S. Brewer, 2007)

Chrétien de Troyes, Arthurian Romances, ed. and trans. William W. Kibler and Carleton W. Carroll (Penguin: Harmondsworth, 2005); there is another edition in Everyman, re-issued by Phoenix, 1993, that is perfectly acceptable.

*Petrarch's Lyric Poems, ed. and trans. Robert M. Durling (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1976) - parallel texts

*Elizabethan Sonnets, ed. Maurice Evans, revised Roy Booth (London: Phoenix, 1994) - contains complete sonnet sequences by Sidney, Daniel, Drayton, and representative samples from other sonneteers. A good staple, so long as scholarly editions are consulted for essays. Copies of this edition are available second hand for 1p on Amazon.

*Shakespeare, The Sonnets and A Lover's Complaint: several editions available, the best being those by Colin Burrow (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002) and by John Kerrigan (Penguin: Harmondsworth, 1986)

Sir Philip Sidney, The Old Arcadia, ed. Katherine Duncan-Jones (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1985)

Tottel's Miscellany (1557), a facsimile edition is available from Scolar Press (1966). The text is also on EEBO (Early English Books Online), accessible from the Library e-Resources, under Databases.

*Ovid, Metamorphoses, trans. Arthur Golding (1567), ed. Madeleine Forey (Penguin: Harmondsworth, 2002)

You might also want to get hold of the following volumes from the now out-of-print Penguin Freud Library: vol. 7 On Sexuality (1977), and vol. 11 On Metapsychology (1984). These reproduce essays from the Standard Edition of Freud's works, trans. James Strachey, in volumes that usefully classify them thematically. There may still be used copies of these editions available on Amazon. Most of the Freud material we will be looking at is contained in these two volumes. They are preferable to the volumes available in the new Freud translation, general editor Adam Phillips, which I would advise against buying

 

Please note that with the secondary reading listed week-by-week below, "ce" indicates that the text is available under Course Extracts on the Library electronic resources page at http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/services/library/main/electronicresources/extracts/en/en917 (please note that only students registered on the module have access to these). All other material is available in multiple copies and/or as e-books or e-journals in the Library. Some material is also scanned and available on the Upload sub-page (password protected).

Week 1  

Introduction to the module

Key areas to be covered: courtly love, fin’amor, prohibition, taboo, adultery, ‘impossible’ loves, the family romance.

Primary texts to be discussed: Lancelot du Lac by Chrétien de Troyes; a selection of troubadour poetry and a selection of lyrics by Wyatt (photocopies to be distributed at the Induction Meeting).

Secondary texts to be discussed: Freud, ‘A Special Type of Object Choice made by Men’ (1910) (ce, also on Upload sub-page), ‘On the Universal Tendency to Debasement in the Sphere of Love’ (1912) (ce, also on Upload sub-page); C. S. Lewis, The Allegory of Love (1936), chapter 1 (pp.1-43) (ce); Toril Moi, ‘Desire in Language: Andreas Capellanus and the Controversy of Courtly Love’, in Medieval Literature: Criticism, Ideology and History, ed. David Aers (1986), pp.11-33 (ce).

Theoretical ideas to be discussed: the overvaluation of the love object; the Oedipus complex.

 

Week 2  

Key areas to be covered: Perversion

Primary texts to be discussed: Ovid, Metamorphoses, Books 3, 9, and 10; Petrarch, Canzoniere, canzone 23.

Secondary texts to be discussed: Freud, Three Essays on the Theory of Sexuality (1905), esp. essay 1 ‘The Sexual Aberrations’ (ce) and the concluding ‘Summary’; Stephen Greenblatt, "Psychoanalysis and Renaissance Culture", in Literary Theory/Renaissance Texts, ed. Patricia Parker and David Quint (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1986), pp. 210-24 (on Upload sub-page); Lynn Enterline, The Rhetoric of the Body from Ovid to Shakespeare (2000), chapters 1-3 (e-book, see http://lib.myilibrary.com/Open.aspx?id=16182&loc=&srch=undefined&src=0; also on Upload sub-page), paying particular attention to pp.35-37, 84-88, 91-94.

Theoretical ideas to be discussed: psychoanalytic models of sexuality; the ‘impersonality’ of desire; polymorphous perversity; inter- and intra-subjective desire.

 

Week 3  

Key areas to be covered: Masochism

Primary texts to be discussed: Petrarch, Canzoniere (sonnets 1, 2, 74, 75, 85, 86, 87, 88, 89, 90, 132, 133, 174, 175, 202, 203, 240, 241); Sidney, Astrophil and Stella (sonnets 1, 2, 14, 17, 18, 19, 20, 29, 33, 36, 40, 42, 43, 46, 47, 48, 49, 59, 86, 98, and 107).

Secondary texts to be discussed: Freud, ‘A Child is Being Beaten’ (1919) (ce), ‘The Economic Problem of Masochism’ (1924) (ce); Kaja Silverman, Male Subjectivity at the Margins (1992), chapter 5, ‘Masochism and Male Subjectivity’ (ce); Leo Bersani, The Freudian Body (1986), chapter 2, ‘Sexuality and Aesthetics' (ce); Gilles Deleuze, Masochism: Coldness and Cruelty (trans. 1991), chapters 5 and 7 (on Upload sub-page); Jacques André, ‘Feminine Sexuality: A Return to Sources’, in Jean Laplanche and the Theory of Seduction, ed. John Fletcher, New Formations 48 (2002), pp.77-112 (ce); Jean Laplanche, "Masoschism and the General Theory of Seduction", from Essays on Otherness (1999) (ce).

Theoretical ideas to be discussed: different models for the masochistic subject; ‘recuperating’ models, Freud, Foucault, sadomasochism versus ‘non-recuperating’ models, Deleuze, Laplanche, Bersani.

 

Week 4  

Key areas to be covered: Abjection and Melancholia

Primary texts to be discussed: Petrarch, Canzoniere (sonnets 14, 15, 17, 18, 35, 36); Samuel Daniel, Delia (sonnets 2, 3, 4, 7, 9, 11, 15, 16, 22, 24, 25, 42, 43, 44), Sir Walter Ralegh, The Ocean's Love to Cynthia.

Secondary texts to be discussed: Freud, ‘Mourning and Melancholia’ (1917) (ce); Judith Butler, ‘Melancholy Gender/Refused Identification’, in Constructing Masculinity, ed. Maurice Berger, Brian Wallis, and Simon Watson (1995), pp.21-36 (ce), and Gender Trouble: Feminism and the Subversion of Identity (1990), chapter 2, paying particular attention to pp.57-72 (on Upload sub-page); Lynn Enterline, The Tears of Narcissus (1995), Introduction (pp.1-38) (ce); Julia Kristeva, Black Sun: Depression and Melancholia (trans. 1989), pp.34-68, paying particular attention to pp.40-47, 53-58 (on Upload sub-page), and ‘Approaching Abjection’ from Powers of Horror: An Essay on Abjection (trans. 1982), pp.1-32 (multiple copies in Library, plus photocopy available OCLC #7369808); Elizabeth Grosz, ‘The Body of Signification’, in Abjection, Melancholia and Love: The Work of Julia Kristeva, ed. John Fletcher and Andrew Benjamin (1990), pp.80-103 (ce).

Theoretical ideas to be discussed: incorporation of the lost object; the split subject; gender melancholy.

 

Week 5

Key areas to be covered: Feminine identifications # 1

Primary texts to be discussed: cross-dressing scenes in Sidney, Arcadia 

Secondary texts to be discussed: Freud, The Ego and the Id (1923), especially chapter 3 (ce); Diana Fuss, Identification Papers, chapter 1 (1995) (ce); Judith Butler, Bodies That Matter: On the Discursive Limits of ‘Sex’, chapter 3 (1993) (ce); Kathryn Schwarz, Tough Love: Amazon Encounters in the English Renaissance (2000), chapter 5 (on Upload sub-page).

Theoretical ideas to be discussed: the Oedipus complex (‘positive’ and ‘negative’), queer theory, identification and desire.

 

Week 6

Key areas to be covered: Feminine identifications # 2

Primary texts to be discussed: the complaint tradition, including The Mirror for Magistrates, Daniel, ‘The Complaint of Rosamund’, Shakespeare, A Lover’s Complaint, Pope, Eloise to Abelard.

Secondary texts to be discussed: Roland Barthes, ‘The Absent One’ and ‘The Love Letter’ in A Lover’s Discourse (trans. 1978), pp.13-17, 157-59 (ce); Wendy Wall, The Imprint of Gender: Authorship and Publication in the English Renaissance (1993), pp.250-60 (on Upload sub-page); Elizabeth Harvey, Ventriloquized Voices: Feminist Theory and English Renaissance Texts (1992), introduction (pp.1-16), chapter 1 (pp.17-32), and coda (pp.140-42) (on Upload sub-page); Catherine Bates, Masculinity, Gender and Identity (2007), chapter 5 ‘Feminine Identifications in A Lover’s Complaint’, pp.174-215 (e-book, see http://lib.myilibrary.com/Open.aspx?id=124376&src=0; also on Upload sub-page); Alice Jardine, Gynesis: Configurations of Woman and Modernity (1985), preliminaries and chapters 1 and 2, pp.13-64 (on Upload sub-page).

Theoretical ideas to be discussed: the construction of gender identity; ventriloquism; not ‘role-playing’; male ‘lesbianism’; gynesis.

 

Week 7

Key areas to be covered: Homosocial and Homosexual relations

Primary texts to be discussed: Shakespeare, Sonnets (especially 1-126); Sidney, Certain Sonnets (16 and 16a, 31) and Astrophil and Stella (14, 21, 104); Fulke Greville, Caelica (sonnets 2, 9, 12, 13, 15, 18, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 31, 34, 35, 36, 37, 62, 71, 84), and extracts from Richard Barnfield, The Affectionate Shepherd.

Secondary texts to be discussed: Wendy Wall, "Disclosures in Print: The 'Violent Enlargement' of the Renaissance Voyeuristic Text", Studies in English Literature 1500-1800 29 (1989): 35-39 (e-journal, see http://0-www.jstor.org.pugwash.lib.warwick.ac.uk/stable/450453); Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick, Between Men: English Literature and Male Homosocial Desire (1985), introduction, chapters 1 & 2 (on Upload sub-page); also by Sedgwick, "'Gosh, Boy George, You Must Be Awfully Secure in Your Masculinity!'", in Constructing Masculinity, ed. Maurice Berger, Brian Wallis, and Simon Watson (1995) (on Upload sub-page); Catherine Bates, "Cupid's bow and Boys' Play in the Sonnets of Sidney and Greville" (on Upload sub-page).

Theoretical ideas to be discussed: homosociality and homosexuality; relations between male characters/personae; relations between poets; relations between the speaker and Cupid.

 

Week 8

Key areas to be covered: Petrarch and Petrarchanism

Primary texts to be discussed: Sidney, Astrophil and Stella (sonnets 3, 6, 15, 90), Daniel, Delia (38), Drayton (introductory sonnet to Idea), Sir John Davies (introductory sonnet to Gulling Sonnets); Petrarch, Canzoniere (sonnets 140, 190) and Wyatt's 'translations' of these ('The long love that in my thought doth harbour' and 'Whoso list to hunt').

Secondary texts to be discussed: Heather Dubrow, Echoes of Desire: English Petrarchism and its Counterdiscourses (1995), from the introduction (on Upload sub-page); Thomas M. Greene, The Light in Troy: Imitation and Discovery in Renaissance Poetry (1982), chapter 12, "Wyatt: Erosion and Stabilization", pp.242-63 (ce; also on Upload sub-page); Marguerite Waller, ‘The Empire’s New Clothes: Refashioning the Renaissance’, in Seeking the Woman in Late Medieval and Renaissance Writings, ed. Sheila Fisher and Janet E. Halley (1989), pp.160-83 (ce), and ‘Historicism Historicized: Translating Petrarch and Derrida’, in Historical Criticism and the Challenge of Theory, ed. Janet Levarie Smarr (1993), pp.183-211 (on the Upload sub-page); Jonathan Crewe, Trials of Authorship: Anterior Forms and Poetic Reconstruction from Wyatt to Shakespeare (1990), chapter 1, "Wyatt's Craft", pp.23-47 (e-book, see http://publishing.cdlib.org/ucpressebooks/view?docId=ft92900936&chunk.id=d0e366&toc.depth=1&toc.id=&brand=ucpress).

Theoretical ideas to be discussed: ‘diacritical desire’; relations between ‘imitators’ and the ‘father’ poet and ways of modelling these (anxieties of influence, the modesty topos, sibling rivalry, poetic ‘mastery’); relations between critics and the poets they fashion; relations between critics and critics.

 

Week 9  

Key areas to be covered: Castration and Fetishism

Primary texts to be discussed: Petrarch, Canzoniere (5, 11, 30, 52, 157), and Sidney, Astrophil and Stella (sonnets 1, 5, 88, 89, 91, 106).

Secondary texts to be discussed: Freud, ‘Fetishism’ (1927) (ce; also on the Upload sub-page); Julia Kristeva, from Revolution in Poetic Language in The Portable Kristeva, ed. Kelly Oliver (1997), pp.32-70, esp. pp.49-54 (ce); Nancy J. Vickers, "Diana Described: Scattered Woman and Scattered Rhyme", Critical Inquiry 8 (1981): 265-79 (e-journal, see http://0-www.jstor.org.pugwash.lib.warwick.ac.uk/stable/1343163); William Kerrigan and Gordon Braden, ‘Petrarch Refracted: The Evolution of the English Love Lyric’ in The Idea of the Renaissance (1989) (ce); John Freccero, ‘The Fig Tree and The Laurel’, in Literary Theory/Renaissance Texts , ed. Patricia Parker and David Quint (1985), pp.20-32 (on Upload sub-page).

Theoretical ideas to be discussed: the work of art as ‘fetish’; recuperation of the ‘Master’ poet; the sovereign writing subject; the emptiness/illusoriness of the fetish object

 

Week 10  

Key areas to be covered: Narcissism

Primary texts to be discussed: Ovid, the Narcissus myth in Metamorphoses Book 3; Petrarch, Canzoniere 13, 24, 30, 45, 51, 78, 160; Shakespeare, Sonnets 21, 23, 24, 105 (from the Young Man sub-sequence), 138, 139, 144, 150, 152 (from the Dark Lady sub-sequence); Spenser, Amoretti, 45.

Secondary texts to be discussed: Freud, ‘On Narcissism: An Introduction’ (1914) (on Upload sub-page); Jacques Lacan, ‘The mirror stage as formative of the function of the ‘I’’, in Ecrits, ed. Alan Sheridan (trans. 1977), pp.1-7 (on Upload sub-page); Ellie Ragland-Sullivan, Jacques Lacan and the Philosophy of Psychoanalysis (1986) (ce; also on Upload sub-page); Joel Fineman, Shakespeare’s Perjured Eye (1983), Introduction, pp.1-25 (ce); Lynn Enterline, The Tears of Narcissus (1995), Introduction, pp.1-18 (ce);

Theoretical ideas to be discussed: the ego and ego ideal; the mirror stage; visuality, specularity, illusions of wholeness and perfection.

 

Bibliography

Janet Adelman, Suffocating Mothers: Fantasies of Maternal Origin in Shakespeare’s Plays (New York: Routledge, 1992)
Catherine Bates, Masculinity, Gender and Identity in the English Renaissance Lyric (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2007)
Leo Bersani, The Freudian Body: Psychoanalysis and Art (New York: Columbia University Press, 1986)
Alan Bray, Homosexuality in the Renaissance (London: Routledge, 1992)
Mark Breitenberg, Anxious Masculinity in Early Modern England (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1996)
Judith Butler, Gender Trouble: Feminism and the Subversion of Identity (London: Routledge, 1990)
- Bodies That Matter: On the Discursive Limits of ‘Sex’ (New York: Routledge, 1993)
Jonathan Crewe, Trials of Authorship: Anterior Forms and Poetic Reconstruction from Wyatt to Shakespeare (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1990)

Heather Dubrow, Echoes of Desire: English Petrarchism and its Counterdiscourses (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1995)
Lynn Enterline, The Tears of Narcissus: Melancholia and Masculinity in Early Modern Writing (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1995)
- The Rhetoric of the Body from Ovid to Shakespeare (Cambridge; Cambridge University Press, 2000)
Joel Fineman, Shakespeare’s Perjured Eye: The Invention of Poetic Subjectivity in the Sonnets (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1986)
Valeria Finucci, The Manly Masquerade: Masculinity, Paternity and Castration in the Italian Renaissance (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2003)
Elizabeth Foyster, Manhood in Early Modern England: Honour, Sex and Marriage (London: Longman, 1999)
Diana Fuss, Identification Papers (New York: Routledge, 1995)
Jonathan Goldberg, Sodometries: Renaissance Texts, Modern Sexualities (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1992)
Elizabeth Harvey, Ventriloquized Voices: Feminist Theory and English Renaissance Texts (London: Routledge, 1992)
Lorna Hutson, The Usurer’s Daughter: Male Friendship and Fictions of Women in Sixteenth-Century England (London: Routledge, 1994)
Coppélia Kahn, Man’s Estate: Masculine Identity in Shakespeare (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1981)
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 Homosocial Desire (New York: Columbia University Press, 1986).
Kaja Silverman, Male Subjectivity at the Margins (New York: Routldege, 1992)
Bruce Smith, Shakespeare and Masculinity (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000)
Marguerite Waller, Petrarch’s Poetics and Literary History (Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press, 1990)
Marion A. Wells, The Secret Wound: Love-Melancholy and Early Modern Romance (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2007)

Robin Headlam Wells, Shakespeare on Masculinity (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000)

 

 

Suggested Essay Topics (you may either take one of the following questions as the starting point for your essay or invent a title of your own, though if the latter you must seek my approval first):

1) “The lover is always abject. Obedience to his lady’s wish, however whimsical, and silent acquiescence in her rebukes, however unjust, are the only virtues he dares to claim. There is a service of love closely modelled on the service which a feudal vassal owes his lord” (C. S. Lewis). Explore the representations of sex and power as they are worked out in the motifs of courtly love.

2) "Why did a poetic form dedicated to praise of a beloved object so consistently generate melancholic self-reflection? And why did so many poets shape their own voices by taking up the seemingly endless, lachrymose cycle of Petrarch's woes?" (Lynn Enterline). Propose your own answers to one of both of these questions.

3) “All the fictions of courtly love have their semiotic justifications: the love must be idolatrous for its poetic expression to be autonomous” (John Freccero). Discuss.

4) “The male masochist magnifies the losses and divisions upon which cultural identity is based, refusing to be sutured or recompensed. In short, he radiates a negativity inimical to the social order” (Kaja Silverman). Discuss articulations of male masochism in the love lyric of the Renaissance period.

5) William Kerrigan and Gordon Braden describe Petrarchanism as “a run of masculine bad luck so insistent that it becomes almost a joke”. Explore the potential for irony, wit, and humour in the representations of erotic love in the poetry of the period.

6) “Shakespeare in his sonnets invents the poetics of heterosexuality” (Joel Fineman). Explore some of the issues raised by the representation and representability of male sexual desire. You may, if you wish, consider other poets than Shakespeare.

7) For Arthur Marotti, sonnet sequences became “the occasion for socially, economically, and politically importunate Englishmen to express their unhappy condition in the context of a display of literary mastery”. Consider the theme of mastery in the poetry of the period AND/OR in modern critics’ evaluation of that poetry.

8) “O absent presence, Stella is not here” (Sir Philip Sidney); “Lacan sees courtly love as the elevation of the woman into the place where her absence or inaccessibility stands in for male lack” (Jacqueline Rose). Discuss lack and its compensations in the poetry of Sidney AND/OR other poets of the period.

9) How helpful are the psychoanalytic concepts of abjection AND/OR fetishism AND/OR masochism AND/OR narcissism AND/OR perversion AND/OR feminine identifications in considering the representation of masculinity in early modern poetry?

10) "What strategies whether formal, ideological, or otherwise, serve to establish distinctions between one poet and another or between the poet and his lady?...And why, given the prevalence and efficacy of these diacritical markers, are the texts in question characterized not by clear-cut separations between male and female, powerful and powerless, successful and unsuccessful, Petrarchan and anti-Petrarchan, but by slippages within and between those sets of categories?" (Heather Dubrow). Formulate your own response to one or both of these questions.

11) "[Petrarch] made self-alienation in life the mark of self-creation in literature and so established a literary tradition that has yet to be exhausted" (John Freccero). Discuss the ideas behind this proposition. Does it, in your view, explain the phenomenon of Petrarchanism?