Katherine Philips and the discourse of virtue

Byrne, Tracy J (2002) Katherine Philips and the discourse of virtue. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

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For many years after her death in 1664, Katherine Philips (The Matchless Orinda) was celebrated by admirers and commentators as an icon of female virtue and as an appropriately chaste model for other women writers. Modern analyses of Philips' writing have challenged this patriarchal construction of 'Orinda', and today Philips is most commonly known as the author of potentially subversive and erotic poems on the subject of intimate female friendship. However, such analyses have tended to overlook the fact that virtue and the question of the virtuous life are recurring and dominant themes in Philips' writing. This thesis focusses on those themes. It examines the models of virtue constructed by Philips in her poetry and drama in the context of the religious, political, and philosophical discourses that informed seventeenth-century ideas concerning right conduct and the good life. The thesis questions the assumption that virtue in Philips' writing operates merely as a discourse of female (sexual) constraint or denial. It explores how Philips' representations of ideally virtuous men and women interact with and negotiate Early Modern conceptions of good statecraft and self-government. It demonstrates Philips' contribution to seventeenth-century debates around kingship, faith, and government, and her articulation of a subtle critique of the received wisdom that accounted women inferior in virtue to men.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Additional Information: Adviser: Jane Todd
Keywords: British & Irish literature
Date of Award: 2002
Depositing User: Enlighten Team
Unique ID: glathesis:2002-73336
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 14 Jun 2019 08:56
Last Modified: 14 Jun 2019 08:56
URI: https://theses.gla.ac.uk/id/eprint/73336

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