The truth undressed : the complex relationship between government legislation, Renaissance literature, and women's writings in late Tudor England.

Date of Award


Document Type



College of Liberal Arts

Degree Name

Bachelor in Arts


The Truth Undressed: The Complex Relationship between Government Legislation, Renaissance Literature, and Women's Writings in late Tudor England explores the multiple ways womens clothing was used by government legislation, Renaissance literature, and womens writings. This thesis explains that monarchs, such as Elizabeth I, controlled clothing under sumptuary legislation and church homilies as a way to dissuade female power. On the other hand, aristocratic women used clothing to present their significance and power in Tudor society. While aristocratic women had power related to clothing, and government legislation tried to suppress that female dominance, Renaissance authors presented clothing to represent society and government legislation. Some Renaissance writers tried to cement clothing laws, while others gave their female characters some type of power. This thesis uncovers the many ways clothing was both a restriction and power for women in Tudor society. Furthermore, the relationship between literature, legislation, and domestic writing is complex, and reflective of one another. The Truth Undressed explains that the public sphere presented clothing as a male dictation, a protection, and an identity. In domestic writing, however, clothing was a way to assert power. This thesis explores the different ways clothing was presented in both public and private Tudor society.