Tsai Loma Hutson. Feminism and Renaissance Studies. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1999. ix + 480 pp. ISBN 0-19-878244-6 (cl); 0-19-878243-8 (pb). Until the 1960s, researchers situated Renaissance women's roles inside an implicitly male "universal humanity" as elucidated by Jacob Burkhardt in the 1860s. Classic essays together with new scholarship in this collection problematize this situation in a number of ways. Particular authors exemplify the focus of each division of the book. Joan Kelly and Lorna Hutson demonstrate how male Renaissance authors understood public and domestic, and male and female as binaries that rendered classical literacy useless for most women. Natalie Zemon Davis, Christine Klapisch-Zuber, and Lyndal Roper further deconstruct Burkhardt's definition of humanism by pointing out that Early Modern culture constructed femininity in conflicting ways. Other researchers show that contradictory norms pervadedRenaissance culture; these norms were often written and manipulated by both men and women using female metaphors. Merry Weisner
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