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Thinking Allegory Otherwise$
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Brenda Machosky

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780804763806

Published to Stanford Scholarship Online: June 2013

DOI: 10.11126/stanford/9780804763806.001.0001

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Allegory and Female Agency

Allegory and Female Agency

(p.163) Seven Allegory and Female Agency
Thinking Allegory Otherwise

Maureen Quilligan

Stanford University Press

This chapter looks at materiality in works where allegory seemed mostly abstraction. It considers allegory in the Renaissance by focusing on Christine de Pizan's City of Ladies and the way in which she literalizes the metaphor of her literary work. It discusses the long-standing debate over the typically female gender of personifications and allegorical figures as materially and not merely metaphorically (or linguistically) gendered. The chapter situates Christine de Pizan and Mary Wroth in a distinctive relationship against and within the patriarchal tradition of allegory. Clearly empowered by the gendered forces contending within the allegorical figure of personification, both writers revisit its violent workings to provide forceful narratives about the agency of women.

Keywords:   allegory, materiality, Renaissance, Christine de Pizan, City of Ladies, female agency, gender, Mary Wroth, personification

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