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ERIC Number: ED371368
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1993-Dec
Pages: 14
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: N/A
Commands and Whispers: Maternal Voices in Early Advice Books for Children.
John, Judith Gero
From Virginia Woolf's time on, scholars have been looking for the invisible woman who was silenced during the Middle Ages and the Renaissance not only as a matter of custom but often as a matter of law. To find her, scholars must look not only at the prominent women of these periods, such as Margery Kempe and Queen Elizabeth I, but also at the letters of Margaret Paston, the diaries of Anne Askew, and the writings of Margaret More Roper. One genre rarely tapped but offering a rich display of the female voice in the Renaissance is the advice manual. As men increasingly moved into a secular space leaving the religious and moral realm to women, this genre became available to mothers. Addressed to children when the writer believed her death to be imminent, these manuals reveal a distinctly female discourse, in which the female "whisper" replaces the male firm command and the female "let" replaces the male imperative "shall." Through these books, scholars are fortunate to discern not just the contemporary religious and social ideals on which women built their lives and their beliefs, but the actual voices of women speaking to their children. Scholars are able to come into contact with the mind of women who are well read and careful observers, women who can mix experience with style and leave literary legacies which have gone through several editions during the 16th and 17th centuries. (Contains 15 references.) (TB)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Information Analyses
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A