Lost Property: The Woman Writer and English Literary History, 1380-1589

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University of Chicago Press, 2000 - 274 pages
The English literary canon is haunted by the figure of the lost woman writer. In our own age, she has been a powerful stimulus for the rediscovery of works written by women. But as Jennifer Summit argues, "the lost woman writer" also served as an evocative symbol during the very formation of an English literary tradition from the fourteenth through the sixteenth centuries.
Lost Property traces the representation of women writers from Margery Kempe and Christine de Pizan to Elizabeth I and Mary Queen of Scots, exploring how the woman writer became a focal point for emerging theories of literature and authorship in English precisely because of her perceived alienation from tradition. Through original archival research and readings of key literary texts, Summit writes a new history of the woman writer that reflects the impact of such developments as the introduction of printing, the Reformation, and the rise of the English court as a literary center.
A major rethinking of the place of women writers in the histories of books, authorship, and canon-formation, Lost Property demonstrates that, rather than being an unimaginable anomaly, the idea of the woman writer played a key role in the invention of English literature.
 

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Contents

I
1
III
22
IV
23
VI
33
VII
39
VIII
49
IX
60
X
61
XIX
111
XX
126
XXI
138
XXII
157
XXIII
162
XXIV
163
XXV
173
XXVI
180

XIII
71
XIV
81
XV
93
XVI
108
XVII
109
XXVII
185
XXVIII
193
XXIX
203
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About the author (2000)

Jennifer Summit is associate professor of English at Stanford University. She is the author of Memory's Library: Medieval Books in Early Modern England, published by the University of Chicago Press.

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