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Subtle Subversions

Reading Golden Age Sonnets by Iberian Women

Gwyn Fox

Publication Year: 2012

Subtle Subversions is the first full-length, contextual, and analytical study of the sonnets of five seventeenth-century women in Spain and Portugal: Luisa de Carvajal y Mendoza, Catalina Clara Ramírez de Guzmán, Sor María de Santa Isabel, Leonor de la Cueva y Silva, and Sor Violante del Cielo

Published by: The Catholic University of America Press


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Title Page

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pp. iii-iii


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pp. iv-iv


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pp. vii-vii

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pp. ix-ix

I am deeply indebted to a number of people who have supported me during my work on this project. I should especially like to acknowledge Mercedes Maroto Camino and Christine Arkinstall for their constant support, advice, and encouragement. I have also enjoyed the active ...

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Introduction: Revisiting the Baroque

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pp. 1-20

Virginia Woolf wrote these words in her celebrated work A Room of One’s Own in 1929, expressing her frustration at the lack of women’s voices in history and literature. Yet, unrealized by Woolf, across Western Europe women were writing in all fields of literary endeavor and trying ...

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1. Politics, Patronage, Parentage

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pp. 21-72

An important part of the funtioning of upper-class society in early modern Spain was the acquisition of suitable patronage. Class was fundamental to the client’s chances of success in the patronage systems that obtained in the greater and lesser courts of the Iberian nobility. The stratification of ...

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2. Marriage, Motherhood, Patriarchy

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pp. 73-110

The family in early modern Spain was the smallest element through which social control was exerted by the patriarchal establishments of Church and state. Seventeenth-century notions of the family stemmed partially from the Church Fathers and from post- Tridentine Church doctrine. These notions ...

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3. Children and Siblings

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pp. 111-140

Moralists and thinkers, drawing on the Church Fathers, had much to say about the appropriate education for children of both sexes, as well as about the relationship of fear and respect that ideally should exist between children and their parents. In the ...

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4. Feminine Friendship

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pp. 141-193

The benefits women derived from the companionship and support of other women cannot be underestimated. If the patriarchal norm prevailed, then the only like-minded people who shared and understood women’s plight were other women. The intellectual and emotional benefits of friendship ...

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5. Women’s Love Sonnets

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pp. 194-245

Women who composed love poetry stepped into a masculine field, bound by tradition, where the female was the silent and idealized object of unrealized love, merely a rhetorical exercise carried forward from the courtly love mode. When Malón de Chaide discusses the ideal of a ...

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6. Luisa de Carvajal: More Martha Than Mary

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pp. 246-283

In 1601, Luisa de Carvajal y Mendoza wrote a letter to a friend, a nun at the court of the archduchess of Flanders, from her small and impoverished, yet independent, home in Madrid. In it, she confided that “[t]odos estos días estoy deseando que me dejen tomar la pluma en la mano ...

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Conclusion: Living the Baroque

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pp. 284-290

In recent decades , feminist scholarship has revealed a previously almost invisible body of work by women writers and intellectuals who wrote against or in spite of patriarchal restriction, dating back to the far reaches of the Christian era. In presenting this study of sonnets by ...


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pp. 291-302

General Index

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pp. 303-306

Index of First Lines

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pp. 307-308

Index of First Lines in Translation

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pp. 309-310

E-ISBN-13: 9780813218472
Print-ISBN-13: 9780813215280

Page Count: 320
Publication Year: 2012

OCLC Number: 820372704
MUSE Marc Record: Download for Subtle Subversions

Research Areas


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Subject Headings

  • Spanish poetry -- Women authors -- History and criticism.
  • Portuguese poetry -- Women authors -- History and criticism.
  • Spanish poetry -- Classical period, 1500-1700 -- History and criticism.
  • Portuguese poetry -- Classical period, 1500-1700 -- History and criticism.
  • Sonnets, Spanish -- History and criticism.
  • Sonnets, Portuguese -- History and criticism.
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