The Afterlife of Pope Joan: Deploying the Popess Legend in Early Modern England

The Afterlife of Pope Joan: Deploying the Popess Legend in Early Modern England

By: Craig Rustici (author)Hardback

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The Afterlife of Pope Joan examines the significance that sixteenth- and seventeenth-century writers gave to the legend of Pope Joan, a ninth-century woman who allegedly cross-dressed her way to the papacy and whose identity as a woman was discovered, only when she gave birth during a procession. In the contentious environment of Early Modern England, writers reimagined Joan variously as a sorcerer, a hermaphrodite, and even a noteworthy author. Craig Rustici explores how scholars, clergy, and playwrights examined, debated, and refashioned tales concerning the legend. He looks at historiographic methods, rules of evidence, rhetorical devices, and the period's assumptions about what was probable and possible for women and transvestites; in doing so, he demonstrates how the popess functioned as a powerful rhetorical instrument in political and religious controversies, and reveals anxieties and ambivalences about gender roles that persist even today.

About Author

Craig M. Rustici is Associate Professor of English at Hofstra University.

Product Details

  • ISBN13: 9780472115440
  • Format: Hardback
  • Number Of Pages: 240
  • ID: 9780472115440
  • ISBN10: 0472115448

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