Dido's daughters: literacy, gender, and empire in early modern England and France

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University of Chicago Press,
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Our common definition of literacy is the ability to read and write in one language. But as Margaret Ferguson reveals in Dido's Daughters, this description is inadequate, because it fails to help us understand heated conflicts over literacy during the emergence of print culture. The fifteenth through seventeenth centuries, she shows, were a contentious era of transition from Latin and other clerical modes of literacy toward more vernacular forms of speech and writing.Fegurson's aim in this long-awaited work is twofold: to show that what counted as more valuable among these competing literacies had much to do with notions of gender, and to demonstrate how debates about female literacy were critical to the emergence of imperial nations. Looking at writers whom she dubs the figurative daughters of the mythological figure Dido-builder of an empire that threatened to rival Rome-Ferguson traces debates about literacy and empire in the works of Marguerite de Navarre, Christine de Pizan, Elizabeth Cary, and Aphra Behn, as well as male writers such as Shakespeare, Rabelais, and Wyatt. The result is a study that sheds new light on the crucial roles that gender and women played in the modernization of England and France.
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Grouped Work ID 083afb3b-ef49-f961-b000-14f2b3693057
full_title dido s daughters literacy gender and empire in early modern england and france
author ferguson margaret w
grouping_category book
lastUpdate 2017-08-14 05:04:28AM

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author Ferguson, Margaret W., 1948-
author-letter Ferguson, Margaret W.,
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physical xiv, 506 p. : ill. ; 24 cm.
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publishDate 2003
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table_of_contents Competing concepts of literacy in imperial contexts: definitions, debates, interpretive models -- Sociolinguistic matrices for early modern literacies: paternal Latin, mother tongues, and illustrious vernaculars -- Discourses of imperial nationalism as matrices for early modern literacies -- An empire of her own: literacy as appropriation in Christine de Pizan's Livre de la cité des dames -- Making the world anew: female literacy as reformation and translation in Marguerite de Navarre's Heptaméron -- Allegories of imperial subjection: literacy as equivocation in Elizabeth Cary's Tragedy of Mariam -- New world scenes from a female pen: literacy as colonization in Aphra Behn's Widdow Ranter and Oroonoko.
target_audience Other
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title Dido's daughters literacy, gender, and empire in early modern England and France
title_display Dido's daughters literacy, gender, and empire in early modern England and France
title_full Dido's daughters [electronic resource] : literacy, gender, and empire in early modern England and France / Margaret W. Ferguson
title_short Dido's daughters
title_sort dido's daughters literacy, gender, and empire in early modern england and france
title_sub literacy, gender, and empire in early modern England and France