Contending that early modern fictional portrayals of sexual violence identify the position of the author with that of the chaste woman threatened with rape, Amy Greenstadt challenges the prevalent scholarly view that this period's concept of 'The Author' was inherently masculine. Instead, she argues, the analogy between rape and writing centrally informed ideas of literary intention that emerged during the English Renaissance. Analyzing works by Milton, Sidney, Shakespeare and Cavendish, Greenstadt shows how the figure of 'The Author' - and by extension ideas of the modern individual--derived from a paradigm of female virtue and vulnerability. This volume supplements the growing body of studies that address the relationship between early modern textual representation and notions of gender and sexuality; it also adds a new dimension in considering the wider origins of modern concepts of selfhood and individual rights.
Amy Greenstadt is Associate Professor of English at Portland State University, where she writes and teaches about the cultural history of gender, sexuality, and other forms of human identity and difference.
'Amy Greenstadt's intriguing book takes a close look at early modern literary authorship in light of shifting ideas concerning female will and the violation of rape. Through analysis of Sidney's The Old Arcadia, Shakespeare's Rape of Lucrece, Milton's Comus, and Cavendish's Assaulted and Pursued Chastity, Greenstadt traces the use of rape as a metaphor for authorial intention that is inevitably violated by public consumption. This carefully argued book brings to light dimensions of female subjectivity that echo provocatively in literature of the age.' Sharon Beehler, Montana State University, USA ’Greenstadt offers a fresh, persuasive model of intention, which resists the opposition of autonomy and erasure. Having killed off the author, we can recall that figure on more nuanced terms, and Greenstadt's book makes a powerful case for the value of that project.’ Renaissance Quarterly '... insightful readings of a series of works spanning some seven decades in Early Modern English letters.' Parergon 'Rape and the Rise of the Author is rich and wide-ranging. The works studied span over seventy years and cover a variety of genres. ... [This book] offers a valuable contribution to authorship studies...' English Studies '... sensitive and thought-provoking...' Sharp News 'Greenstadt's analysis of texts and their literary and political environment is engaging, detailed, and intricate. She generally follows the existing critical consensus of law surrounding rape, abduction, and elopement - a particularly fraught and precarious area demanding significant engagement with both primary texts and historical context. Her intervention is a welcome challenge to established critical ideology, identifying the need for alternative approaches to the discussion of early modern literature and rape.' Modern Language Review 'Amy Greenstadt's study of how concepts of rape, authorial intention, and subjectivity intersected in early modern England contributes to the critical d