"Of all creatures women be best, / Cuius contrarium verum est": Gendered Power in Selected Late Medieval and Early Modern Texts

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"Of all creatures women be best, / Cuius contrarium verum est": Gendered Power in Selected Late Medieval and Early Modern Texts

The aim of this paper is to examine images of the relationship between men and women in selected late medieval and early modern English texts. I will identify prevalent ideology of representation of women as well as typical imagery associated with them. I will in particular argue that men whose homosocial laughter performs a solidifying function of their community seek to reiterate their superiority over women through seemingly playful and inclusive humour. I will attempt to show that what appears to be good-natured entertainment is actually a weapon used against women who, often accused of no sense of humour, are ridiculed and commanded to succumb to male authority. I will also discuss the triumphant tone of both poems and dramatic writings whose cheerful tone functions to marginalize women and to reinforce the misogynistic foundations of public life.

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Text Matters

A Journal of Literature, Theory and Culture; The Journal of University of Lodz

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