A Baroque Tale of Male Erasure
Princeton Research Day Ten-Minute Talk
How did 17th-century women in Europe write about their experiences in a war-torn and male-dominant environment? Women who dared to go against the grain of rigid expectations by publishing religiously controversial material or overstepping their prescribed education levels could expect to be publicly shamed and disowned by their former allies. An even more ubiquitous form of subjugation was that of male erasure, or the appropriation and alteration of women’s intellectual work by men. This talk looks at examples of male erasure that occurred in the career of the Austrian-German poet Catharina Regina von Greiffenberg (1633–94). Despite the fact that male supervisors strove to curb women’s political and creative expression, how did women like Greiffenberg succeed in publishing highly original poetry and political treatises? Indeed, can we understand Greiffenberg’s poetry as an outlet to process the trauma of sexual coercion she experienced throughout her life, starting in her youth? This presentation makes a feminist intervention into the existing scholarly conversation, and ventures to see if Greiffenberg’s poetry and political writings might illuminate a broader narrative, both of her time and ours.
More information at the Princeton Research Day Website (https://researchday.princeton.edu/)