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K-State Today

December 15, 2015



Cro presents at international symposium in Paris

By Melinda A. Cro

Melinda A. Cro, assistant professor of French in the modern languages department, presented at an international symposium on comparative literature and gender in the early modern period hosted by the University of Paris III: Sorbonne and the Center for Comparative Studies, or Centre d'Etudes et de Recherches Comparatistes, on Thursday, Dec. 10.

Her presentation, "Gendered Performances: Pastoral Ceremony in Guarini’s Il Pastor fido and d’Urfé’s Astrée," examined episodes of transvestism in the Italian pastoral play, Giovanni Battista Guarini’s Il Pastor fido, 1590, and the first volume of the French pastoral novel, Honoré d’Urfé’s Astrée, 1607.

In both texts, the authors present a gendered performance intrinsic to the texts' and the mode's conception of love. By performing gender, the characters underscore that notions thereof were not as fixed as we tend to assume and present a revelatory opportunity to examine the imaginary of the early modern reader with regard to conceptions of masculinity and femininity. Moreover, these episodes provide a fruitful opportunity to dialogue with modern theories of performativity of gender in order to investigate the way in which gender was actually constructed in these early modern cultural objects, leading to a fuller understanding of the multi-faceted considerations of what it meant to be fe/male within the pastoral mode.