By S. Dunnigan

ISBN-10: 0333714725

ISBN-13: 9780333714720

ISBN-10: 1349423696

ISBN-13: 9781349423699

ISBN-10: 1403932700

ISBN-13: 9781403932709

Eros and Poetry examines the erotics of literary hope on the Stewart court docket in Scotland through the reigns of Mary, Queen of Scots and James VI. Encompassing the interval from the early 1560s to the past due 1590s, this is often the 1st learn to hyperlink jointly Scottish Marian and Jacobean court docket literatures, proposing a comparatively unknown physique of writing, newly theorized and contextualized. It argues that during this era erotic poetry can basically be thought of relating to the determine of the monarch, and that the formation of elite lyric tradition happens lower than the shaping impression of hope for, and opposed to, the sovereign, and her or his 'passional' and symbolic powers.

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Additional info for Eros and Poetry at the Courts of Mary Queen of Scots and James VI

Example text

The response to the sonnets, while patently intensified by the political and religious gains to be made, seems to imply that the figure of Mary could not be eroticised, or was compelled to resist eroticisation. Was it because these sonnets implied that she was not simply an object of desire, in itself tolerable perhaps, but that she was seen in these texts to solicit, orchestrate and, perhaps most injuriously of all, to need desire? Did the apparent erotic revelation of the queen’s desiring body in these sonnets implicate, on the analogy of the two sovereign bodies literal and symbolic, not only her own specific female body but that of the symbolic Scottish state?

The Marian sonnets challenge the received terms or languages by which Renaissance lyric desire is conceived. The sexual contradictions and multiplicities of Mary’s sonnets – their ardent reclamation of female desire which exposes male sexual rapacity and yet also to a degree portrays the desiring woman as compliant and submissive – might easily be conceived as reworkings of Petrarchism’s quintessential trope: namely that the lover exists in and by states of contradiction. The texts’ oscillation between self-denial and selfvindication can also symbolise, on the contra-Marian reading, the queen’s political vagaries, the charges of inconsistency and incompetence.

It is interesting to observe the rhetorical way in which the sonnets anticipate their ‘public’ status. The lover is conscious of her desire as spectacle, subject to the moral scrutiny of others, a gesture towards the classic courtly trope of anxiety; as she ‘spectates’ the rival beloved, so she herself is further ‘spectated’ or judged by the beloved in her own consciousness: the accusation, ‘Vous m’estimez…’ (7: 10), begins a litany of judgement and incrimination. Eroticising Mary The contemporary reception of the casket-sonnets transparently reflected early modern ideologies of female cupiditas (the history of their later reception might also be said to reflect culturally relative assumptions about female sexuality).

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Eros and Poetry at the Courts of Mary Queen of Scots and James VI by S. Dunnigan


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