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Chapter 2 - ‘For Truth and Faith in Her Is Laid Apart’

Women’s Words and the Construction of Masculinity in Catullus’ Lesbia Poems and Thomas Wyatt

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  19 August 2019

Linda Grant
Affiliation:
Royal Holloway, University of London
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Summary

This chapter concentrates on how the concerns of Catullus’ texts inform the erotic and cultural dynamics of Wyatt’s love poetry. Focusing on gendered images of speech – the impotent or unreliable tongue, verbal duplicity, broken oaths and overt lies – it examines how issues of speaking are turned into ethical markers which can be mapped onto the spectrum of gender. Contextualising the poetry from the two periods against, respectively, one of Cicero’s forensic speeches, and Henry VIII’s love letters, it investigates how modes of speaking are used to contest and uphold the idea of masculinity as a moral state, not just a gender position: what it might mean to ’speak like a man’ in Republican Rome and Henrician England.

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Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2019

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