Women's Writing Before Woold: A Social Reference/Mihoko Suzuki (2)
Mihoko Suzuki (1953-)Edit
Mihoko Suzuki (16 December 1953-) is a professor and well established English academic from the University of Miami, USA. She has authored, edited, and co-authored several notable articles, journals, and books, often detailing her specialty in the study of early modern England.
Suzuki began academic achievements at Cornell University, achieving her bachelor’s degree in both history and literature through the college scholar program. She would then proceed to earn a PhD in Comparative Literature at Yale University in 1982. For ten years, Suzuki established herself at the University of Miami, taking on multiple esteemed positions including the Director of the Program in Women's Studies as well as the Director for Graduate Studies in the Department of English (1). Later in 2008, Suzuki became the President for the Society for the Study of Early Modern Women and Gender and then, in the following year, she would serve as the inaugural director of the Centre for the Humanities at Miami University (1). Additionally, from 2012 through to 2013, Mihoko Suzuki was a council member of the 16th Century Society and Conference – which again took a scholarly interest in the early modern era (6).
From 2016-2017, Professor Mihoko Suzuki accepted a new role at Smith College North Hampton, as the Ruth and Clarence Kennedy Professor in Renaissance Studies. During this appointment she co-designed and co-taught a popular upper-level seminar titled “Women and Gender in Early Modern Europe: The Art of Self-Fashioning” (2). This cross-discipline course with a focus upon writings by women in Italy, France, England, and Spain was co-designed alongside fellow academic Anne J. Cruz, whom she had met at the University of Miami (3).
Suzuki has also recently published and contributed to the following essay collections, cementing her academic authority;
· Routledge History of Women in Early Modern Europe (2021)
· A Companion to the Global Renaissance (2021)
· Historicizing Life Writing and Ego-Documents in Early Modern Europe (2022)
· Margaret Cavendish: An Interdisciplinary Perspective (2022)
· The Oxford Handbook of Early Modern Women’s Writing in English, 1540–1680 (2022).
As of the writing of this article, Suzuki currently works as the President of the International Margaret Cavendish Society, which is dedicated to promoting the works of Margaret Cavendish, a seventeenth-century writer. These academic appointments serve to highlight her interest and studies on the Renaissance era, and early modern literature, with a particular focus upon gender studies and authorship (2). Suzuki herself notes that much of her research into early modern Europe focuses upon civil wars and upheaval within the political and social hierarchies of the period (4).
Antigone's Example: Early Modern Women's Political Writing in Times of Civil War from Christine de Pizan to Helen Maria Williams (June, 2022)Edit
The most recent of Suzuki’s published works, this book investigates early modern women’s interventions in politics during periods of civil war in both England and France. Immediately popular within academic circles, Antigone’s Example is known for illuminating a rich set of women writers’ views of themselves as political beings. It examines how these women would utilise literary skills in order to evade censorship and empower their own political perspectives (5). It ultimately aims to “revise the history of political thought, which has heretofore focused almost exclusively on formal treatises” (1).
Subordinate Subjects: Gender, the Political Nation, and Literary Form in England, 1588–1688 (Women and Gender in the Early Modern World) (2003)Edit
Here Professor Suzuki discusses the political lead up to the English Revolution. In her discussion of these tumultuous years, she demonstrates the importance of the contributions of non-aristocratic men and women to the political spheres. She discusses the use of discursive and literary forms for the purpose of political advancement within the seventeenth century. The book makes use of “post-Marxist theory and psychoanalysis to discuss the early modern construction of the political subject” (8). Subordinate Subjects is distinct in its contributions to early modern English literature due to its interdisciplinary focus, weaving literary scholarship with social history, gender studies, and cultural studies.
The Rule of Women in Early Modern Europe (July, 2009)Edit
Co-written with Anne J. Cruz, this collection of essays details and examines multiple instances of powerful women throughout the medieval and early modern period in Europe. From this, a variety of timelines, female rulers, courts, families, and representations of women’s writings are analysed, starting as early as the medieval French author Cristine de Piazan (3). Suzuki’s passion for gender studies (2) aligns with that of Cruz, as the essays utilise a distinctly feminist perspective, discussing the oppositions women in power often faced.
Metamorphoses of Helen: Authority, Difference, and the Epic (September, 1989)Edit
Metamorphoses of Helen examines Helen of Troy as a figure of political authority (1). Suzuki highlights the literary tradition that holds prominent women and their descendants responsible for socio-political conflicts, more so on a mass scale. The book suggests the woman’s perspective is an alternative source of poetic and political power, as the epic genre has often been a hypermasculine one. Of particular note is her discussion of both the Illiad and Odyssey, noting that even in the eyes of the poetic authors, the role of women is marked by a “undecidability of function”.
Women's Literacies and Social Hierarchy in Early Modern England (November, 2015)Edit
Co-authored with Margaret Ferguson, this article argues for an expansive, historicized notion of literacy that encompasses a broader range of textualities and authorial practices. The articles argue that common standards of literacy imposed on the past, including signatures as evidence of writing ability, are biased against women and poor men, and therefore obscure a large range of writing and reading practices. The authors call for attention to dedications and addresses to women, as well as pseudonymously, anonymously and collectively written works, as evidence for an expanded realm of women's writing and reading, and not signature alone.
What's Political in Seventeenth‐Century Women's Political Writing? (May, 2009)Edit
This article argues for an expanded awareness of women's political writings. Here, Suzuki contextualises Anne Bradstreet's "The Four Monarchies" within a wider network of contemporaneous and earlier political works by women, challenging Bradstreet's privileged position in contemporary scholarship on 'women's political writing' and radically extending understandings of what constitutes 'political'.
Gender, Class, and the Social Order in Late Elizabethan Drama (March, 1992)Edit
In this article, Suzuki broadens ideas of social mobility in Elizabethan England by considering a convergence of anxieties about instability in gender relations with class relations. This convergence is examined through the lens of Elizabethan plays that explore cultural anxieties about domestic and gender relations, including Twelfth Night (1601), Arden of Faversham (1591) and A Warning for Fair Women (1599).
Suzuki is held in high esteem amongst her academic peers, with a reputable number of contributions to the academic study of early modern and Renaissance English and European literature. Her many appointments at the University of Miami, as well as fellowships from the Folger Shakespeare Library, and the New York Public Library (2) have both earned her respect and left an impressive academic legacy.
Suzuki's books, including Metamorphoses of Helen: Authority, Difference, and the Epic and Subordinate Subjects: Gender, the Political Nation, and Literary Form in England, 1588–1688, have greatly contributed to scholarship on women's writing. Her third book, Antigone's Example: Early Modern Women's Political Writing in Times of Civil War from Christine de Pizan to Helen Maria Williams, achieved particular critical acclaim, with Margaret W. Ferguson declaring it “deeply researched, strikingly illustrated and cogently argued” (7). In addition to these books, Suzuki has helped shape the field of women's writing and early modern studies through editing and co-editing six books, covering subjects such as gender in the early modern period and contemporary feminist criticism (1).
Further Contributions by Mihoko SuzukiEdit
Suzuki, Mihoko. A History of Early Modern Women's Writing. Cambridge University Press. (2017). https://www.cambridge.org/core/books/history-of-early-modern-womens-writing/198E6506655C8C87FC20BA072EFD7380
Goodman, Robin. The Bloomsbury Handbook of 21st Century Feminist Theory. Bloomsbury Publishing. (2019). https://www.bloomsbury.com/us/bloomsbury-handbook-of-21stcentury-feminist-theory-9781350032408/
McCulloch, Gary. A Cultural History of Education in the Renaissance (1450–1650). Bloomsbury Publishing. (2020). https://www.bloomsbury.com/us/cultural-history-of-education-9781350035560/
Regarding Politically Powerful Women During Early Modern Europe.Edit
Weissberger, Barbara. Isabel Rules: Constructing Queenship Wielding Power. University of Minnesota Press. 2003. https://bookshop.org/p/books/isabel-rules-constructing-queenship-wielding-power-barbara-f-weissberger/9386637?ean=9780816641659
Levin, Carole. The Heart and Stomach of a King: Elizabeth I and the Politics of Sex and Power. University of Pennsylvania Press. 2013. https://bookshop.org/p/books/the-heart-and-stomach-of-a-king-elizabeth-i-and-the-politics-of-sex-and-power-carole-levin/12493905?ean=9780812222401
Doran, Susan. Mary Queen of Scots: An Illustrated Life. British Library, Illustrated edition. 2007. https://www.amazon.com/dp/0712349162?tag=shepherd06-20&geniuslink=true
Massie, Robert. Catherine the Great: Portrait of a Woman. Random House Trade. 2012. https://bookshop.org/p/books/catherine-the-great-portrait-of-a-woman-robert-k-massie/9045935?ean=9780345408778
"About SSC". Sixteenth Century Society and Conference, 2021. sixteenthcentury.org/about/
“Anne J Cruz”. Miami Academia, Department of Modern Languages and Literatures. 2022. https://miami.academia.edu/AnneJCruz
Suzuki, Mihoko. Antigone’s Example: Early Modern Women's Political Writings in Times of Civil War from Christine de Pizan to Helen Maria Williams. Palgrave Macmillan Cham. 2022. https://link.springer.com/book/10.1007/978-3-030-84455-4
Ferguson, Margaret & Suzuki, Mihoko. Women's Literacies and Social Hierarchy in Early Modern England. Literature Compass. 12. 575-590. 10.1111/lic3.12281. 2015.
“In-Person: An evening with Mihoko Suzuki & UM Center for the Humanities”. Eventbrite. 2022. https://www.eventbrite.com/e/in-person-an-evening-with-mihoko-suzuki-um-center-for-the-humanities-tickets-412810887477
"Mihoko Suzuki." Center for the Humanities. Miami University, 2021, humanities.as.miami.edu/about-the-center/staff-bios/mihoko-suzuki/index.html
"Smith College Honors UM Professor in Renaissance Studies" News and Events: College of Arts and Sciences. University of Miami, August 31, 2016. news.miami.edu/as/stories/2016/08/smith-college-honors-um-professor-in-renaissance-studies.html
Suzuki, Mihoko. Gender, Class, and the Social Order in Late Elizabethan Drama. Theatre Journal. 44. 10.2307/3208514. 1992.
Suzuki, Mihoko. Metamorphoses of Helen: Authority, Difference and the Epic. Cornell University Press, 1989.
Suzuki, Mihoko. Subordinate Subjects: Gender, the Political Nation, and Literary Form in England, 1588-1688. Ashgate, 2003.
Suzuki, Mihoko. What's Political in Seventeenth‐Century Women's Political Writing? Literature Compass. 6. 927 - 941. 10.1111/j.1741-4113.2009.00641. x. 2009.
“The best books on women who ruled in early modern Europe”. Cruz, A. Suzuki, M. Beta Shepherd. 2022. https://shepherd.com/best-books/women-who-ruled-in-early-modern-europe
"The Rule of Women in Early Modern Europe". University of Illinois Press, 2021. www.press.uillinois.edu/books/catalog/59qpw5ng9780252034169.html
1. "Mihoko Suzuki." Center for the Humanities. Miami University, 2021
2. “Smith College Honours UM Professor in Renaissance Studies”.
3. “Anne J Cruz”. Miami Academia, Department of Modern Languages and Literatures. 2022.
4. “The best books on women who ruled in early modern Europe”. Cruz, A. Suzuki, M. Beta Shepherd. 2022.
5. “In-Person: An evening with Mihoko Suzuki & UM Center for the Humanities”. Eventbrite. 2022.
6. "About SSC". Sixteenth Century Society and Conference, 2021.
7. Suzuki, Mihoko. Antigone’s Example: Early Modern Women's Political Writings in Times of Civil War from Christine de Pizan to Helen Maria Williams. Palgrave Macmillan Cham. 2022.
8. Suzuki, Mihoko. Subordinate Subjects: Gender, the Political Nation, and Literary Form in England, 1588-1688. Ashgate, 2003.