- Feminism and Renaissance Studies ed. by Lorna Hutson (review)
- Calíope: Journal of the Society for Renaissance and Baroque Hispanic Poetry
- The Society for Renaissance and Baroque Hispanic Poetry
- Volume 7, Number 1, 2001
- pp. 142-144
- View Citation
- Additional Information
142 «§ REVIEWS we might expect, the literary soldier's identification with emerging ideologies of patriotism meant that the soldiers's stories would lack the ironic thrust and social criticism of the classic picaresque tales. As usual, Cruz's close textual readings are superb. A brief digression on the moriscos is less satisfying, however, because the relationship of class difference to emerging racialized discourses (albeit filtered through the categories of religion and ethnicity) requires much more attention. Cruz concludes her study with a discussion of the Vida del Capitdn Alonso de Contreras and Estebanillo Gonzalez, two texts that mark the,end of Spanish attempts to represent poverty in writing. The rise of modern forms of capitalism elsewhere in Europe, however, would constitute a solid ground for reworkings of the picaro character in other languages. In the wake of Jose Antonio Maravall's monumental La literatura picaresca desde la historia social (Siglos XVI y XVII) (1986), Discourses ofPoverty is a courageous intervention into the scholarly field of the picaresque. It provides fresh insights into well-known texts and deepens our knowledge of their social conditions of possibility. In the discipline of "Spanish Golden Age," which in the U.S. continues to be dominated by a clique of conservative male scholars, Cruz's voice is indeed a welcome one. Jorge Mariscal University of California-San Diego Hutson, Lorna, ed. Feminism and Renaissance Studies. Oxford: Oxford UP, 1999. ix + 480 pp. ISBN 0-19-878243-8. $19.95 pb. I admit that I approached Feminism and Renaissance Studies, which is part of the 'Oxford Readings in Feminism' series, with a certain amount of skepticism. I believe in the importance of the series—it is a laudable and difficult endeavor to bring together key feminist articles in the various fields of science, politics, history, cultural studies, and, now, Renaissance studies. Students and professors benefit from such compilations, particularly since they offer an affordable alternative to photocopied course packs. Nonetheless, I was put off by the gaps in coverage in this volume, in which England and Italy receive the most attention, followed by Germany and France. Most obviously missing are Spain and the New World, which appear only in Stephanie Jed's excellent article, "The Tenth Muse: Gender, Rationality, and the Marketing of Knowledge." Yet even Jed offers a disclaimer about the breadth of her piece, indicating that hers is a theoretical reflection on women writers and "not an essay on Anne Bradstreet and Sor Juana" (120). An obvious choice for an essay on the Hispanic world could have been found in any number of excellent pieces on convents, nuns, and REVIEWS iff 143 female mysticism written by Hispanists in the last decade. However, women's religious experience is not covered by any of the essays. Editor Lorna Hutson admits to the oversight of Hispanic, New World, and religious topics in her introduction, and also explains that criticism on English women's writing figures only marginally because work in that field is easy to discover on one's own. This explanation does little tojustify the choices (which do include an essay on Margaret Cavendish by Victoria Kahn), and, unfortunately, the inclusion of all of western Europe except Spain gives the impression that innovative feminist research has yet to be written by Hispanists. That said, my skepticism was assuaged when I saw that Hutson assembled an impressive cast of characters whose work encompasses 35 years of feminist research on early modern Europe. Groundbreaking articles by Joan Kelly ("Did Women Have a Renaissance?" ) and Natalie Zemon Davis ("Women on Top" ) serve as anchors for the volume, reminding us of our debt to previous generations of feminist scholars. Covering an array of topics (English pamphlets, Humanist education , French lyric, women's labor history, etc.), the essays represent a diversity of training that includes history, literature, art, and music. Approximately half pre-date 1990, while the remainder were written in the 1990s. Only rarely do the articles seem inappropriate for general readers. In fact, while I questioned the accessibility of Nancy J. Vickers' essay on the representation of women in Petrarchan poetry, only one of the essays struck me as a bad choice. The stylistically fragmented chapter from...