"Men call me chaste" : a feminine redefinition of androcentric chastity in medieval, Renaissance, and nineteenth century British texts

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Mary Ellen Weir (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site: http://library.uncg.edu/
Mary Ellis Gibson

Abstract: Nearly all the ideas, concepts, perspectives, and definitions that have been constructed, appropriated, and authorized in western history are androcentric. The concept of chastity is just one among the many, and this dissertation explores how women writers in the medieval, Renaissance, and nineteenth century literary periods redefine chastity to include women's experience and ideas. To show how women redefine the concept, the origins of androcentric chastity are explored, revealing its gender-specific focus and its negating and constraining of female sexuality by patriarchal codes for women's sexual behavior. This notion of chastity is variously but consistently resisted and subverted by Margery Kempe and Heloise in the medieval period, by Mary Wroth in the Renaissance, and by Elizabeth Gaskell and Elizabeth Barrett Browning in the nineteenth century. While the ways these writers resist androcentric chastity differ, conceptually their redefinitions are analogous.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 1994
Chastity in literature
Sex in literature
Commitment (Psychology) in literature

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