The Female Baroque in Early Modern English Literary Culture
The Female Baroque in Early Modern English Literary Culture
From Mary Sidney to Aphra Behn
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Table of Contents
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Prefatory Note
Chapter 1: The Labyrinthine Baroque
Chapter 2: The Female Baroque
Chapter 3: Catholic Baroque
Chapter 4: Protestant Baroque
Chapter 5: The Female Baroque in Court and Country
Chapter 6: Mary Wroth's Urania and Pamphilia to Amphilanthus
Chapter 7: From Baroque to Enlightenment: Margaret Cavendish and Aphra Behn

Reviews and Features

"Some books feel as if they have always been there and when they appear we wonder how we did without them. This is one of those. In a wide-ranging study, Gary Waller explores the Baroque less as a historical period than as a sense of permanent disruptiveness that recurs throughout history, and "often cyclically" (19)."
- Catherine Bates, University of Warwick, Renaissance Quarterly, Volume LXXV, No. 1 (2022)

"There is much to celebrate in Gary Waller's new book The Female Baroque in Early Modern English Literary Culture: From Mary Sidney to Aphra Behn, which I read with constant interest, even fascination. As its title indicates, the study refuses the common fragmentation of the early modern period into pre- and post-civil wars and ranges from the poetry, plays, and fiction of Mary Sidney, Aemilia Lanyer, and Mary Wroth to that of Margaret Cavendish (and her stepdaughters Jane Cavendish and Elizabeth Brackley) and Aphra Behn. [...] In this fascinating book, Waller has contributed richly to the shared endeavor to find and understand lost women’s writing. Readers of many kinds will find much to learn from Waller’s work."
- Elaine Hobby, Tulsa Studies in Women's Literature, Volume 40, Number 2, Fall 2021

Gary Waller

The Female Baroque in Early Modern English Literary Culture

From Mary Sidney to Aphra Behn

The Female Baroque in Early Modern English Literary Culture is a contribution to the revival of early modern women’s writings and cultural production in English that began in the 1980s. Its originality is twofold: it links women’s writing in English with the wider context of Baroque culture, and it introduces the issue of gender into discussion of the Baroque. The title comes from Julia Kristeva’s study of Teresa of Avila, that ‘the secrets of Baroque civilization are female’. The book is built on a schema of recurring Baroque characteristics — narrativity, hyperbole, melancholia, kitsch, and plateauing, pointing less to surface manifestations and more to underlying ideological tensions. The crucial concept of the book is developed in detail. Particular attention is given to Gertrude More, Mary Ward, Aemilia Lanyer, The Ferrar/Collet women, Mary Wroth, the Cavendish sisters, Hester Pulter, Anne Hutchinson, and finally Margaret Cavendish and Aphra Behn, whose lives and writings point to the developing cultural transition to the Enlightenment.

Gary Waller

Gary Waller Ph.D Cambridge, SUNY Distinguished Professor, literature/cultural studies, emeritus. Female Baroque in Early Modern English Culture (Amsterdam UP 2020), Mary and the Annunciation (Routledge 2016), The Virgin Mary in Medieval and Early Modern English Literature and Popular Culture (Cambridge UP, 2011).