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The Feminine Reclaimed breaks new ground in the field of Renaissance scholarship. Stevie Davies considers the feminine principle as it was developed through the humanist and Neoplatonic revival of ancient classical learning and from this perspective approaches the major works of the three great literary figures of the English Renaissance—Spenser, Shakespeare, and Milton.

Through close, perceptive readings of their most crucial works, informed by a familiarity with the whole range of their context in the European literature and thought of their time, Stevie Davies is able to demonstrate the great importance of the feminine principle in the consciousness of these writers and their age, a time of political, religious, and social upheaval in which perceptions of woman and her status in society underwent momentous changes. She analyzes guiding symbols, mythical allusions, and literary structures in major works by the three poets to show that this rediscovered image of the feminine was incorporated into The Faerie Queene, Shakespeare's last plays, and Paradise Lost in such a manner as to create an alternative system of values which either redefined or criticized the patriarchal structures of the contemporary world.

Stevie Davies, longtime lecturer in English literature at the University of Manchester, is the author of Renaissance Views of Man, Emily Bronte: The Artist as a Free Woman, and Images of Kingship in "Paradise Lost": Milton's Politics and Christian Liberty.

"Should certainly become a significant part of the growing body of criticism in which feminists of different persuasion (and both sexes) attack or defend the great male writers of our tradition."—The South Atlantic Quarterly

"Davies has managed in her own studies to unlock the secret treasure-trove of mystical philosophy; her illustrations and analysis synthesize the diverse influences underlying the poetry she examines. . . . Davies's book is indeed illuminating."—South Atlantic Review

Publication Date



The University Press of Kentucky.

Place of Publication

Lexington, KY






Edmund Spenser, Shakespeare, John Milton, Women in literature


Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies

The Feminine Reclaimed: The Idea of Woman in Spenser, Shakespeare, and Milton
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