Transforming women's labor in early modern literature: Sex, gender, class, identity
Greenberg, Rachel Leah
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"Transforming Women's Labor in Early Modern Literature" explores how women's labor is portrayed in sixteenth- and seventeenth century early modern English literature in tandem with the emergence of a steadily growing market economy, and highlights how changing definitions and expectations of labor intersect with overlapping notions of gender. The argument of the project is twofold: first, that early modern literature both masked and denigrated women's labor by portraying it in terms of female nature, specifically in terms of women's lack of bodily, sexual, and economic self-control; second, that as women became increasingly dissassociated from labor, that a new idea of female nature that emerged that was more abstract and ideological in nature, and that ultimately posits later versions of womanhood and femininity.