Home WakeSpace Scholarship › Electronic Theses and Dissertations

Flowers for the Book-binder's Wife: An Investigation of Florilegia and Early Modern Women's Writing

Electronic Theses and Dissertations

Item Files

Item Details

abstract
Working under the presumed tutelage of ancient Roman scholars, early modern writers embraced the notion of florilegia, passages or quotations, which once deemed pleasing or insightful were extracted for use in the writer’s own work. The category of florilegia, or flowers, particularly included the subcategory of sententiae, or commonplaces, which were considered sources of wisdom and advice. By their chronic recycling of such maxims, Renaissance writers reinforced the prominence of literary imitation rather than encouraging originality. Thus, when early modern authors employed the childbirth metaphor to describe authorship, painting themselves as mothers and their compositions as the child-like fruits of their labor, they attempted to identify a compositional process based on replication with reproduction. Interestingly, in the early modern era, the term, “flowers,” also euphemistically denoted a woman’s menses, the monthly evidence of her body’s ability to bear children. Using this semantic junction as an entry point, this thesis investigates Giambattista Della Porta’s demonization of women’s menstrual flowers in his books of secrets, Shakespeare’s depiction of the danger of patriarchal sententiae for women, and finally Isabella’s Whitney’s entry into authorship, a venture which captured the early modern opposition between the writer’s ability to replicate and the female body’s capacity to reproduce. By demonstrating the shortcomings of florilegia, especially sententiae, this thesis makes a feminist intervention for the redemptive potency of female menstruation in early modern literature.
subject
florilegia
sententiae
commonplace
Giambattista Della Porta
Isabella Whitney
apian metaphor
A Sweet Nosgay
Lavinia
Lucrece
Ophelia
menstruation
flowers
contributor
Barb, Julia (author)
Valbuena, Olga (committee chair)
Jacobson, Miriam (committee member)
Richard, Jessica (committee member)
date
2009-05-07T14:41:17Z (accessioned)
2010-06-18T18:59:24Z (accessioned)
2009-05-07T14:41:17Z (available)
2010-06-18T18:59:24Z (available)
2009-05-07T14:41:17Z (issued)
degree
English (discipline)
identifier
http://hdl.handle.net/10339/14848 (uri)
language
en_US (iso)
publisher
Wake Forest University
rights
Release the entire work for access only to the Wake Forest University system for one year from the date below. After one year, release the entire work for access worldwide. (accessRights)
title
Flowers for the Book-binder's Wife: An Investigation of Florilegia and Early Modern Women's Writing
type
Thesis

Usage Statistics