Waking Chloris: Early modern Chloris texts, 1660-1720

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University of New Brunswick


Originally tied to the tale of a nymph-turned-goddess in Ovid’s Fasti, the name Chloris appears in dozens of early modern texts, from anonymously penned broadside ballads to poetry composed by a courtier to The Amorous Prince: Or, the Curious Husband, one of the first female-authored plays to grace the English stage. Although these works often invoke the pastoral, they depict no singular Chloris: she is an ideal against whom other women are judged; an object of lust that scorns and effeminizes men; an unhappily married woman; a virgin who dreams of masculine identities; and a woman driven to cross-dress after being tricked out of her virtue. Placing a selection of ephemeral texts and canonical works in dialogue with each other, Waking Chloris considers representations of gender roles, female desire, and sexuality across class structures and social positions, illustrating the possibilities of intertextual readings that span both high and low culture.