The Personal is Political: A Feminist Approach to Renaissance Literature
Southern New Hampshire University
This project connects themes of the second wave feminist movement of the 1970s to Renaissance literature. A close reading of John Webster’s The Duchess of Malfi and William Shakespeare’s Titus Andronicus reveal prevailing themes of the movement. Feminist writers such as Carol Hanisch, Betty Freidman, and Simone de Beauvoir speak out against the same challenges faced by women in both Renaissance plays. Issues of financial autonomy, status, and sexuality arise in both Renaissance literature and second wave feminism. Utilizing a new historicist and feminist lens, research proves Renaissance writers were aware of feminist issues which later emerged in the 1960s-1970s movement.