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humanities 187 university of toronto quarterly, volume 73, number 1, winter 2003/4 feminine silence as defiance rather than subjection, a seductive strategy rather than a traditional sign of feminine modesty: contradictions that aptly reflect an ambiguity in early modern texts, >which demand that a woman be both inviolable and available.= The book=s final chapter explores the ways in which early modern women reflect upon the complex relationship of silence and gender in their writing. In the writing of Askew, Wroth, Cary, and others, Luckyj finds evidence of feminine silence as both a bridle and a veil. She concludes in an epilogue with reference to Ovid=s Philomela: >a classical precedent for conflating feminine silence as impotence with feminine silence as agency.= Luckyj=s designations of silences as >rhetorical= and >antirhetorical= sometimes prove problematic, for her uses of these terms are almost as multivalent as the silences she describes. In some places she equates >antirhetorical= with >anti-Ciceronian,= while in others she defines it as >unreadable,= and proceeds to read >unreadable= silences with claimed accuracy. While making a clear case for the heterogeneity of early modern uses of silence, she overlooks the heterogeneity of early modern uses of rhetoric, and in doing so she denies herself the opportunity to explore the considerable significance to her argument of early modern women=s increasing access to rhetorical study. Shifting from the spoken silences of drama to the written >silences= of prose, she cites several rhetorically selfconscious texts by women that may well leave readers wondering how such texts can helpfully be designated >unreadable= or >antirhetorical.= While her terms sometimes obscure her argument, her span of examples is impressive and her evidence of the >semantic elasticity= of early modern silence is compelling. She admirably succeeds in her aim of making it >more difficult to refer unthinkingly to early modern women as Achaste, silent, and obedient.@= (JANE FREEMAN) Germaine Warkentin and Carolyn Podruchny, editors. Decentering the Renaissance : Canada and Europe in Multidisciplinary Perspective 1500B1700 University of Toronto Press, 2001. xii, 388, $35.00, $15.00 This is a fine collection of nineteen essays that have their origins in papers presented at a conference in 1996. It was clearly a fascinating gathering, and despite the diversity of topics in the individual contributions, their authors have gained much from reflecting on each other=s work in preparing the final versions of their essays. Though drawing scholars from a range of disciplines B including archaeology, history, literary studies, sociology, and geography B there is a keen sense of the contributors trying to reach beyond the limits of their individual fields and participating in a wider but coherent project. Although some readers may be tempted merely to dip into this book to follow research in their own areas, I strongly 188 letters in canada 2002 university of toronto quarterly, volume 73, number 1, winter 2003/4 recommend reading the entire volume. While this collection makes strong claims for attention on the excellence of its individual parts, it makes even more significant claims because of the sum of these parts. The central premise of Decentring the Renaissance is that scholarship has too readily accommodated familiar Eurocentric conceptual frameworks about the New World when investigating early modern Canada. The idea of civilization resting in the rediscovery of classical antiquity in Italy and spreading out to the peripheries B one of the traditional cornerstones for thinking about the Renaissance B needs to be reviewed by attending to evidence that interrogates European perspectives. Fundamental to this endeavour is a reconsideration of Native peoples= experience of Europeans, locating evidence from oral traditions and the archaeological record, and paying attention to the different historiographies involved. The aim is not to replace European accounts but to reposition them so that their assumptions are not so overwhelmingly dominant that they are imagined to be the only ones available. The collection further acknowledges that much modern scholarship about early modern Canada is distorted because it is governed by models that homogenize all New World encounters. In an outstanding essay, Mary C. Fuller, for example, re-examines Newfoundland and its fishing industry. Despite attempts by arm-chair voyagers (Anne Lake Prescott=s consideration of William Vaughan=s...


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