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University of Alberta
Sylvia Brown

Virginia Woolf September-27-10 7:23 PM The first modern writer who questioned the lack of female authors in the pre-modern era (19th century) although throughout the course we will continuously challenger her belief as we read numerous pre modern women's work -- Woolf's view is very understandable as at the time there were no online resources or E libraries that could collect a number of works written by women.. This notion of course changed over time, as the remains of numerous works were found (and many were not)... Women would typically hide their writing, for fear of punishment or retribution and embarrassment. In a "Room of Ones Own", Woolf calls our attention to the fact that women were predetermined to live irrelevant lives. Women were not permitted to go to school, even if the family could afford it, girls were not welcome in public, state run schools.. The family, if so inclined, could hire a private tutor.. Women were only worth as much as their fathers and then their husbands. Judith becomes a symbol of all talented and intellectual women. She is so starved for attention and authority over her own life that she risks all that she has; her own life. She is bound by social norms and restrictions and is driven mad by her desire to write and be heard. She would rather end her life than continue to live ignoring her heart of a poet. Judith - all intellectual women. Not only a symbol of intellectual women, but of all women. She is restricted by her father and her family. She is instructed not to bother herself with reading or books at all (they are likely too beyond her grasp), she is told to instead focus on the house work and domestic duties. She is silenced, like all women, by the male figure(s) in her life as well as society in general. She would rather end her life than continue living a lie This possibly becomes a narrative of Woolf's life as she too possessed talent but was naturally shamed to be such an unnatural woman.. As she was the first modern writer, it is very possible that she herself immensely scrutinized and doubted as a credible author. Isabella Whitney September-27-10 7:14 PM Examinethe voice of the female poets: what kind of woman was she? Whitney'sidentity is a mystery. It is thought that she may be a sister of a very well known male author by the name of GeoffreyWhitney (plausiblebut not concrete in anyway).Nothing else is known abouther other than her writings. She printed/wrote two volumesof poetry. She immigrated from the country side, was born into a gentry family. She was in a maid in waiting or a lady in service to a gentle woman (and she apparentlyenjoyed the time spent serving).For some reason,unknownto us, she was forced to leave her lady and ultimately forced to leave London.Whitney said that her own writing was "half true and half false", making it very difficult to determineher sincerity. She was however the first named,publishedfemale author. Whitney'swriting: - Tacklessocial injustice Feminism Socialstatus Unfaithfulmen - Clearlywritten for monetarygain Conformsto social and literaryconventions Modelswriting after Ovid's Heroidines - Verysecular Not pious at all, she removesChristianity from her writing Does not conformto the typical "womenswriting" which was normallyvery pious, for what else do women know about(they are sooo uneducated)other than their own faith Aemilia Lanyer September-27-10 7:36 PM Writing about religion was nothing unique to Lanyer, in fact, most women who did write wrote very piously! This, in my opinion is a manipulative tool exercised by Lanyer in attempt to secure an audience. She is appealing to our "Good Christian" souls through her numerous allusions and recollections of divine beings. She is so audacious as to claim that her writing was the word of God, that she was divinely visited and touched by God.. She dedicated a large portion of her poetry to women, of nobility and power. At the time, writers would send a copy of their work, which included the dedication, to the dedicatee. And in return for being graced and honoured in such a way, the dedicatee would normally send the writer a small "tip" in thanks. This seems very fishy to me. I think she wrote countless dedication in a way to secure as much money as possible. It is clear that she is intelligent and very learned, her writing states this explicitly. She writes perfectly: her timing, metre, and flow are entrancing and lure the audience in. She is manipulatingher audience into buying into her product. The 9 Muses: Possibly a tactic used to secure a larger sum after being published. (see above for thank you tips).. However, these nine women may not have been insulted that they are not the sole dedicatee of Lanyer's writing for she continuously refers to the muses, she does not explicitly refer to herself as a muse but rather alludes that each woman that she is writing too is as good as a Greek Goddess, and therefore it is not hard to deduce that these women could also be the 9 Muses. Patronage: A very important aspect of ALL writing in the 19th century, the only way to secure an income was to develop a regular audience. Lanyer does this in a number of ways. - Feminist issues - Pious writing - Playing the field (numerous dedications) - Conforming to popular and profitable writing conventions Pious Greek allusions Lanyer writes to these noble women, as well as to all women, as well as to all Good Christians (and "Good Jews" - those who converted). In doing so, she creates a semi-exclusive community where only the deserving, the virtuous belonged. Her writing spoke on behalf of women, on behalf of those who were restricted, on behalf of those who were oppressed.. She gives the silenced a voice and in a sense gives all women hope. The Passion of the Christ This is Lanyer's retelling of the passion of the Christ. It begins with the story of Adam and Eve. Lanyer portrays Eve as Adam's natural inferior. She was told to do what ever she could do make Adam happy, and so she did what he instructed her. She is painting the women as victims in the creation of Sin, she is turning the blame back on the men. This may have gained her patrons, women may feel that she is giving them spiritual support. She is one of the first outspoken feminist writers (that we have discussed in class at the very least). The entire retelling of the Passion paints women as the idle stand by's who are tainted by Adam's sin. She is obviously biased and may some what have been damaging her own credibility. Her writing ostracizes MOST men. She blames sin on men, she tells men that it was them who crucified Jesus (the daughters of Jerusalem cried and spoke out to save Jesus but the men would not listen). Although near the end of her poetry she acknowledges that there are virtuous men in the world who share or have sympathy for womens struggles and so are invited into this prestigious community that Lanyer has created Virtue: A central theme in Lanyer's writing is VIRTUE. She constantly refers to herself as being devout, as being gifted by God. She refers to her writing as the word of God, which for a lot of people could be blasphemous in it's own right. She frequently refers to each of her dedicatee's as being Godly, as beautiful, as beautiful. These women are all considered virtuous by Lanyer. They have all shed their early sins and become true women of God. These women become models for all women, these women are women who should be emulated. Only virtue
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