"The stage am I" : epistemology, the erotics of history, and early modern rapes of Lucrece

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dc.contributor.advisor Neill, M. en
dc.contributor.author Camino, Mercedes Maroto en
dc.date.accessioned 2020-06-02T04:32:19Z en
dc.date.available 2020-06-02T04:32:19Z en
dc.date.issued 1994 en
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/2292/51022 en
dc.description Full text is available to authenticated members of The University of Auckland only. en
dc.description.abstract The discursive appropriation and/or rape of a woman images the position women occupy (or are supposed to occupy) within a patriarchal political system as well as a particular epistemological discourse. Although there may be different ways of accounting verbally for the processes entailed in the acquisition of knowledge, the privileged analogies deployed in the West since the early modern period represent (and are represented by) a particular spectrum of gender relations. This configuration presupposes a polarity between the subject and the object of knowledge; and it assumes that the subject is always already gendered as male and the object gendered as female. The domestic, the erotic, the geographical and the political domains converge therefore in the figurative, literary and literal rape of the female or feminized body enacted across different cultural practices. Within these parameters, as this dissertation will argue, representation and rape often become synonymous terms. A growing interest in or concern for issues of rape and boundary violation seems to have led to an increase in plays and poems dealing with the topoi of rape or attempted rape in early modern England. The revision of the laws related to abduction and rape during the last years of the sixteenth-century was also a cause and/or a consequence of this vogue. In particular, Elizabeth's act, introduced in 1597, did away with the former laws that treated rape as the theft of a man's property. The effect of this act was to render the female body legally a woman's inalienable property. The idea that rape was first and foremost the theft of a man's property was not immediately superseded by the notion that it was a violent crime inflicted on a woman and both criteria co-existed in the literary discourses of the time. The contradictions inherent in this dual position are apparent in the texts I study in which "women" speak from different subject positions, occupy a highly unstable and discontinuous discursive location and lack the coherence traditionally attributed to the Renaissance masculine "individual," the autonomous and unified agent of liberal humanism. This research is focused on the rhetorical dismemberment and appropriation of the female body in re-enactments of the classical legend of the rape of Lucretia written in England during the latter part of the sixteenth-century and at the beginning of the seventeenth. I shall take as my starting point and pay special attention to Shakespeare's Lucrece. I shall also examine the rehearsal of the story in Shakespearean drama, especially Titus Andronicus and Cymbeline, as well as exploring the different treatments of the topos by writers such as Machiavelli, Heywood, Fletcher, Jonson, and Middleton. I will observe how these texts negotiate the representation of the female body as a material site for the inscription of patriarchal ideologies of power. This research on the discursive management of the female body will afford an insight into the ideology on which a social system of gender and social hierarchies is constructed and contested. I assume throughout this thesis that the symbolic forms chosen to illustrate some abstract concepts are inextricably related to other social practices and are dependent on the material conditions in which they are generated. I shall argue throughout that aesthetics is always already a political activity, the tenets of which participate in a society's historical legitimation; and that literary texts are ideological constructs in which social conflicts are articulated. I work from the premise that literature is as much a reflection of a particular culture at a given time as it is a means of production which creates, contests, contains, and subverts the structures of power within which that culture develops. Accordingly, the texts under scrutiny will be seen to register and to re-create the transformation and/or the re-production of social conventions obtaining at the time in which they were produced. In short, texts will be treated as both symbolic forms and material productions which represent, repress and reify a culture submerged in a continuous process of becoming, in a dialectical process of continuity and change. en
dc.publisher ResearchSpace@Auckland en
dc.relation.ispartof PhD Thesis - University of Auckland en
dc.relation.isreferencedby UoA9955474814002091 en
dc.rights Items in ResearchSpace are protected by copyright, with all rights reserved, unless otherwise indicated. en
dc.rights Restricted Item. Full text is available to authenticated members of The University of Auckland only. en
dc.rights.uri https://researchspace.auckland.ac.nz/docs/uoa-docs/rights.htm en
dc.title "The stage am I" : epistemology, the erotics of history, and early modern rapes of Lucrece en
dc.type Thesis en
thesis.degree.discipline English en
thesis.degree.grantor The University of Auckland en
thesis.degree.level Doctoral en
thesis.degree.name PhD en
dc.rights.holder Copyright: The author en
dc.identifier.wikidata Q112124005

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