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ae Becoming Visible Women in European History Edited by Renate Bridenthal Brooklyn College Claudia Koonz Holy Cross College Houghton Mifflin Company Boston Atlanta Dallas Geneva, Illinois. Hopewell, New Jersey Palo Alto London Copyright © 1977 by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying and recording, or by any in- formation storage or retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher. Printed in the U.S.A. Library of Congress Catalog Card Number: 76-11978 ISBN: 0-395-24477-3 2 6 & Did Women “Have a Renaissance? “jan Kelky- Gadol In this essay, Joan Kelly-Gadol challenges traditional periodization in her very title — thus emphasizing, yet again, that women's historical experi- ence often differs substantially from that of men. We note the reappearing interrelationship between changing property relations, forms of institu- tional control, and ideology. The author demonstrates that an emerging class created new forms of political and social organization that tended to reduce options for women. She examines how literature rationalized and perpetuated class interests and how it reflected political and sexual rela- tions. She traces major changes in the courtly love tradition. Courtly love is first attributed to powerful feudal women, who made it responsive to their sexual and emotional needs, which harmonized with the needs of their class as a whole. In its Renaissance form, courtly love is attributed to powerful male princes and their courtiers, who had an interest in creat- ing dependency in women. In this period, female chastity and passivity better suited the needs of the expanding bourgeoisie and the declining nobility. The modern relation of the sexes, with its subordination of women, makes its appearance. Like Marylin Arthur, Joan Kelly-Gadol uses literature as an index to the interaction of class needs, state forms, sexual and family relations, and ideology. 137