Women Writers of the 17th Century

Topics: Middle Ages, Renaissance, Literature Pages: 3 (863 words) Published: September 29, 2010
Jessica Thrasher

Professor Berry

Eng 223

20 September 2010

Is the writing of women different than men during this time period?

The study of humanities influenced literature and art in an entirely new way. It seems to me that while the rest of the arts were just still coming out of the middle ages, literary workers, and writers in general were a bit ahead of their time. Renaissance scholars looked down on the art and literature of the middle ages, and were seeking a new outlook on life and art. This led to an intellectual movement that focused on human potential and achievements. Humanists popularized the studies of literature, history, and philosophy.

The word "renaissance" according to Annenburg Media (2) means rebirth. This encompassed a large period of time where a great renewal of classical learning and social values occurred. The renaissance age gave us many notable and adventurous women. Many women of the period decided to stand up and get themselves noticed. During this time, women were contesting with men that had been in the literary community, having already made names for themselves. Also, in the competition were many fresh names such as Geoffrey Chaucer, John Mandeville, and of course Shakespeare. I find it most interesting that some of the most popular works such as Beowulf, The Tale of Igor's campaign, and Sir Gawain and the Green Knight are all anonymous. (Perhaps done by women?)

These new literary figures, mostly men, introduced the idea that all educated people were expected to create art. Baldaassare Castiglione even wrote The Coutier (1528) (1) which explained that a young man of his time should be well educated, witty, and charming. He states that a man should be a wrestler, a swordsman, and knowledgeable in all aspects of the humanities. That is a tall order for a man in those days, considering the scientific revolution, the Catholic revolution, the new discoveries of different lands, religious wars, economy, and general...
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