The Queen's Two Bodies and the Elizabethan Male Subject in John Lyly's Gallathea (1592)

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Date
2017
Authors
Singh, Amritesh
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
Publisher
Southern African Society for Medieval and Renaissance Studies
Abstract
This article reads John Lyly’s Gallathea as an experiment in the representation of Elizabeth in the political context specific to the mid- to late-1580s. The argument diverges from the critical tradition that regards the play as part of a series of attempts to promote representations of Elizabeth as the Virgin Queen, which included Lyly’s Endimion. The article presents Gallathea as introducing a parallel strain in Elizabethan political discourse where, instead of being divorced from one another, female sexuality and female authority exist in a state of happy union. Concomitantly, the article highlights how Gallathea gestures towards a new code of manhoodand courtliness that does not regard the union between female sexuality and authority as a cause for anxiety, thereby showcasing Lyly himself as the ideal male subject in this discursive realm, equally desirous of and deserving Elizabeth’s patronage.
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Keywords
Research Subject Categories::HUMANITIES and RELIGION, Elizabethan Drama, Greek mythology
Citation
Amritesh Singh, 'The Queen's Two Bodies and the Elizabethan Male Subject in John Lyly's Gallathea (1592)', Southern African Journal of Medieval and Renaissance Studies 27 (2017): 53-86