Women's Writing Before Woolf: A Social Reference/Mihoko Suzuki

Mihoko Suzuki (1963- )Edit

Mihoko Suzuki is an esteemed writer, editor and academic currently working out of the University of Miami. She is an interdisciplinary academic, with a focus on a literary and historical understanding of gender and politics within early modern England and Europe.

BiographyEdit

Professor Mihoko Suzuki (16 December 1953-)  is a scholar based at the University of Miami in America. Her scholarship has a focus on early modern and Renaissance literature and culture within an English and European geographical context. Mihoko Suzuki’s scholarship explores this period through an interdisciplinary approach with a focus on gender and authorship. [1]

Suzuki earned her Bachelors degree in the College Scholar Program at Cornell University with the interdisciplinary majors of History and Literature. She then completed her Ph.D in Comparative Literature at Yale University in 1982. During her time at the University of Miami, Mihoko Suzuki has served as the Director of the Program in Women's Studies as well as the Director for Graduate Studies in the Department of English.[1] She was appointed the inaugural Director of the Center for the Humanities in 2009, a role which she held for nine years before stepping down to serve on the Advisory Board in 2018.[2]

Throughout her academic career, Mihoko Suzuki has written two academic books, edited several more, written prolifically across journals as well as being an active member of multiple professional organisations. In 2008, Suzuki was appointed President of the Society for the Study of Early Modern Women and Gender, an organisation that is "committed to interdisciplinary, intersectional approaches that are historically sensitive and theoretically exploratory,"[3] where she served in this role for one year. In 2012 and 2013,[4] Suzuki served on the council for Sixteenth Century Society and Conference, an interdisciplinary scholarly interested in the early modern era.[5] She currently stands as President of the International Margaret Cavendish Society, an organisation of International scholars aiming to increase awareness of the seventeenth century writer Margaret Cavendish. These roles center Mihoko Suzuki within the scholarly community of early modern literary history, and while information is not readily available on her personal life, her academic footprint is significant.

Notable WorksEdit

BooksEdit

Metamorphoses of Helen: Authority, Difference, and the Epic (1989)Edit

Published by Cornell University Press in 1989, Suzuki’s first book ‘Metamorphoses of Helen: Authority, Difference, and the Epic’ explores the classical epic through a feminist perspective. With a focus on the character of Helen of Troy, Suzuki explores how Helen is a figurehead of both literary and political difference within the epic genre, but suggests the othering of this character can reveal insight into qualities of sameness with both the literary poets wielding her, and the political world she is challenged within.[1] She argues that the poet exists outside the action of the epic narrative as observer, while Helen's womanhood positions her outside the patriarchal constraints of the politics of her world. Through examining Helen, and her metamorphosis throughout the subsequent works of Virgil, Spenser and Shakespeare, Suzuki creates a feminist lens through which to explore the epic.[6]

Subordinate Subjects: Gender, the Political Nation, and Literary Form in England, 1588-1688 (2003)Edit

Published by in 2003, ‘Subordinate Subjects: Gender, the Political Nation, and Literary Form in England, 1588-1688’ explores the political role of ‘subordinate subjects’ throughout the sixteen and seventeenth centuries. These so-called subordinates were predominantly apprentices and women of non-aristocratic standing. Suzuki’s work explores the literary contributions of these political minorities, as they challenge their subordinate position to claim a place within the political arena.[7] Suzuki adopts an interdisciplinary approach to this study, utilising gender, social, cultural and historical studies as well as marxist, feminist and psychoanalytical theories to create an understanding of the subordinate subjects experiences.[8]

Debating Gender in Early Modern England, 1500–1700 (2002) (ed)Edit

Along with Christina Malcolmson, Suzuki co-edited this collection of essays debating the issue of gender during England's early modern history. The collection offers an analysis of the querelle des femmes through exploring the effect of manuscript distribution on women's writing and the subsequent development of gender discourse at the time.[9] Series editor Ivo Kamos praised 'Debating Gender in Early Modern England, 1500-1700' for abstaining "from the “easy” generalizations about the historical conditions and circumstances of women’s lives that sometimes prevent us from appreciating the uniqueness of individual lives." [10]

The Rule of Women in Early Modern Europe (2009) (ed)Edit

Mihoko Suzuki and Anne J. Cruz co-edited this "transcultural and transnational perspective"[11] of early female sovereignty and women in power, expanding the focus of this category beyond the female rulers of England. The collection focuses on both how female rulers in history represent themselves, and how they have been represented by others.[12]

Diversifying the Discourse (2006) (ed)Edit

Along with Roseanna Dufault, Suzuki edited this collection of seventeen essays from recipients of the Florence Howe Award for Outstanding Feminist Scholarship between 1990-2004. The award has played a critical role in "establishing the legitimacy and visibility of feminist inquiry," and the essays in this volume offer an interdisciplinary approach to women's writing. [13]

JournalsEdit

Early Modern Women: An Interdisciplinary Journal (EMWJ) (ed)Edit

Founded in 2006, Early Modern Women: An Interdisciplinary Journal "gathers essays on early modern women from every country and region by scholars from a wide range of academic disciplines including art history, cultural studies, music, history, languages and literatures, political science, religion, theatre, history of science, and history of philosophy."[14] EMWJ was founded at the Center for Renaissance and Baroque Studies of the University of Maryland by Jane Donawerth, Adele Seeff, and Diane Wolfthal, however in 2011 when the Center at the University of Maryland closed, the journal was transferred to the Arizona Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies. At this time, the Mihoko Suzuki was appointed a new editor of the journal, along with fellow Professors at the University of Miami, Anne J. Cruz and Mary Lindemann. Suzuki remained an editor for EMWJ until 2018.[14]

Scholarly ReputationEdit

Mihoko Suzuki is a well-regarded academic whose work and contributions to the academic study of early modern and Renaissance English and European literature and history is praised by her peers. This is evident in the various appointments she has held across her career, as well as in the breadth of her editorial roles. Her work has not been without criticism, however, with critiques of her early work 'Metamorphoses of Helen: Authority, Difference, and the Epic' suggesting a scope of argument that required too much of the reader.[15] However, it could be argued that time and experience helped Suzuki to hone her skill. In review of the 2002 collection 'Debating Gender in Early Modern England, 1500–1700', Margaret Ferguson from the University of California at Davis stated that "the editors introduction is superb, as are their strategies for organizing this set of highly original and cogently-argued essays." [9]

Suzuki has been awarded research fellowships for her current project 'Antigone’s Example: Women's Political Writings in Times of Civil War' by Folger Shakespeare Library and the New York Public Library.[1] In the Fall of 2016 Suzuki was awarded the visiting fellowship position of the Ruth and Clarence Kennedy Professor in Renaissance Studies at Smith College is Massachusetts.[16] This prestigious position had Suzuki give three public lectures to the students of Smith College, as well as running an exclusive seminar limited to twelve students. [16]

'Early Modern Women: An Interdisciplinary Journal' is a well regarded and awarded journal. In 2009 it received and honourable mention for 'Best New Journal' from the Council of Editors of Learned Journals (CELJ) of the Modern Languages Association (MLA). During her time as editor, the EMWJ received the 'Voyager Award' for best journal covering the period 1500 to 1800.[17] Notably, Suzuki has also acted on the selection committee for the William Riley Parker Prize, awarded to contributors to the PMLA, the literary journal of the MLA. The scope of Suzuki's academic roles and achievements and the depth of her contribution to the literature on gender and politics in early modern and Renaissance England and Europe are testament to her respected reputation.

ReferencesEdit

"About SSC". Sixteenth Century Society and Conference, 2021. sixteenthcentury.org/about/

"About Us." Society for the Study of Early Modern Women and Gender, 2021. ssemwg.org/

"Debating Gender in Early Modern England, 1500-1700". Palgrave MacMillan, 2021. www.palgrave.com/gp/book/9780312294571#aboutBook

"Diversifying the Discourse." Modern Language Association, Modern Language Association of America, 2021. www.mla.org/Publications/Bookstore/Nonseries/Diversifying-the-Discourse

"Early Modern Women: An Interdisciplinary Journal". Arizona Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies, ACMRS, 2021. www.acmrs.org/journals/early-modern-women-an-interdisciplinary-journal/

"History of the Center." Center for the Humanities. Miami University, 2021, humanities.as.miami.edu/about-the-center/history-of-the-center/index.html

Kamps, Ivo. “Series Editor’s Foreward.” The Rule of Women in Early Modern Europe, edited by Mihoko Suzuki and Anne J. Cruz, Palgrave MacMillan, 2009, xiii-xiv

"Mihoko Suzuki." Center for the Humanities. Miami University, 2021, humanities.as.miami.edu/about-the-center/staff-bios/mihoko-suzuki/index.html

"SCSC Officers and Council Members." Sixteenth Century Society and Conference, 2021. scscdocuments.org/files/Pastofficers.htm

"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

"Subordinate Subjects." Routledge, 2021, www.routledge.com/Subordinate-Subjects-Gender-the-Political-Nation-and-Literary-Form-in/Suzuki/p/book/9781138383401

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.

"The Rule of Women in Early Modern Europe". University of Illinois Press, 2021. www.press.uillinois.edu/books/catalog/59qpw5ng9780252034169.html

Warkentin, Germaine. “Review: [Untitled].” Renaissance Quarterly, vol. 44, no. 2, 1991, pp.344-346. JSTOR, 10.2307/2862725

"Winners." Council of Editors of Learned Journals, 2021. www.celj.org/winners

Woodacre, Elena. The Rule of Women in Early Modern Europe, Reviews in History, 2010. reviews.history.ac.uk/review/860

Further ReadingEdit

Texts by Mihoko SuzukiEdit

Ferguson, Margaret W., and Mihoko Suzuki. "Women’s Literacies and Social Hierarchy in Early Modern England." Literature Compass, vol. 12, no. 11, 2015, pp. 575-590. Wiley Online, 10.1111/lic3.12281.

Smith, Hilda L, Mihoko Suzuki and Susan Wiseman, editors. Women's Political Writings, 1610-1725 Vol 3. Routledge, 2007, Women's Political Writings 1610-1725.

Suzuki, Mihoko. "Rewriting the Odyssey in the Twenty-First Century: Mary Zimmerman's Odyssey and Margaret Atwood's Penelopiad." College Literature, vol. 34, no. 2, 2007, pp.263-278.

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.

Further reading on gender and politics in early women's writingEdit

Daybell, James, editor. Women and Politics in Early Modern England, 1450–1700. Routledge, 2004.

Lamb, Mary E., and Elaine V. Beilin, editors. Ashgate Critical Essays on Women Writers in England, 1550-1700: Early Tudor women writers. Ashgate, 2009, Ashgate critical essays on women writers in England, 1550-1700.

Richards, Jennifer and Alison Thorne, editors. Rhetoric, Women and Politics in Early Modern England. Routledge, 2007.

  1. a b c d "Mihoko Suzuki." Center for the Humanities. Miami University, 2021, humanities.as.miami.edu/about-the-center/staff-bios/mihoko-suzuki/index.html
  2. "History of the Center." Center for the Humanities. Miami University, 2021, humanities.as.miami.edu/about-the-center/history-of-the-center/index.html
  3. "About Us." Society for the Study of Early Modern Women and Gender, 2021. ssemwg.org/
  4. "SCSC Officers and Council Members." Sixteenth Century Society and Conference, 2021. scscdocuments.org/files/Pastofficers.htm
  5. "About SSC". Sixteenth Century Society and Conference, 2021. sixteenthcentury.org/about/
  6. Suzuki, Mihoko. Metamorphoses of Helen: Authority, Difference and the Epic. Cornell University Press, 1989.
  7. Suzuki, Mihoko. Subordinate Subjects: Gender, the Political Nation, and Literary Form in England, 1588-1688. Ashgate, 2003.
  8. "Subordinate Subjects." Routledge, 2021, www.routledge.com/Subordinate-Subjects-Gender-the-Political-Nation-and-Literary-Form-in/Suzuki/p/book/9781138383401
  9. a b "Debating Gender in Early Modern England, 1500-1700". Palgrave MacMillan, 2021. www.palgrave.com/gp/book/9780312294571#aboutBook
  10. Kamps, Ivo. “Series Editor’s Foreward.” The Rule of Women in Early Modern Europe, edited by Mihoko Suzuki and Anne J. Cruz, Palgrave MacMillan, 2009, xiii-xiv.
  11. "The Rule of Women in Early Modern Europe". University of Illinois Press, 2021. www.press.uillinois.edu/books/catalog/59qpw5ng9780252034169.html
  12. Woodacre, Elena. The Rule of Women in Early Modern Europe, Reviews in History, 2010. reviews.history.ac.uk/review/860
  13. "Diversifying the Discourse." Modern Language Association, Modern Language Association of America, 2021. www.mla.org/Publications/Bookstore/Nonseries/Diversifying-the-Discourse
  14. a b "Early Modern Women: An Interdisciplinary Journal". Arizona Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies, ACMRS, 2021. www.acmrs.org/journals/early-modern-women-an-interdisciplinary-journal/
  15. Warkentin, Germaine. “Review: [Untitled].” Renaissance Quarterly, vol. 44, no. 2, 1991, pp.344-346. JSTOR, 10.2307/2862725
  16. a b "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
  17. "Winners." Council of Editors of Learned Journals, 2021. www.celj.org/winners