Early modern women writers and humility as rhetoric : Aemilia Lanyer's table-turning use of modesty
Date of Award
M.A. in English
Department of English
Advisor: Elizabeth Ann Mackay
16th and 17th century women's writing contains a pervasive language of self-effacement, which has been documented and analyzed by scholars, but the focus remains on the sincerity of the act, even though humility was often employed as a successful rhetorical tool by both classic orators and Renaissance male writers. Aemilia Lanyer's Salve Deus Rex Judaeorum has been read in this tradition of sincere humility, and even when it has not, scholars have focused on the dedicatory paratext, thus minimizing Lanyer's poetic prowess. I argue that Lanyer's poem-proper employs modesty as a strategic rhetorical device, giving added credibility and importance to her work. By removing the lens of modesty as sincerity, I hope to encourage a reexamination of the texts of Renaissance women and remove them from their 'silent, chaste and obedient' allocation by/for the modern reader.
Lanyer, Aemilia. Salve Deus Rex Judaeorum Criticism and interpretation, Humility in literature, Women in literature, Poets, English Early modern, 1500-1700 History and criticism, British and Irish literature; gender; literature; rhetoric; womens studies; Aemilia Lanyer; early modern women writers; humility; rhetoric
Copyright 2013, author
Sandy-Smith, Kathryn L., "Early modern women writers and humility as rhetoric : Aemilia Lanyer's table-turning use of modesty" (2013). Graduate Theses and Dissertations. 619.