CFP: The Female Body as Text in Renaissance Literature (7/13/18; RSA 2019)

by Jessica C. Murphy


As the Renaissance saw a rise in female literacy and texts addressed to women readers, the relationship between gender and genre was foregrounded in debates about the appropriate texts for women to read – or if it was appropriate for women to read at all.  These conversations particularly centered on the genre of romance, simultaneously a genre classed as feminine and a genre deemed morally inappropriate for women to read. While these debates raged outside literary texts, within the texts themselves, we see women reading and women as objects to be read – both by the reader of the text and by other characters within the text. How does the female body serve as a text within a text? What unique possibilities does the female body offer for allegory, for interpretation, or for generic symbolism? How is the female body productively linked to literary meaning in the Renaissance? This session, sponsored by UCLA’s CMRS, proposes to explore these issues through interdisciplinary papers and discussion.

If interested in submitting a proposal for this panel, please send a paper title, a 150 word abstract, and a CV to Allison Collins ( by 13 July 2018.