Early
Abstracts

Ann Bowyer's Commonplace Book (Bodleian Library Ashmole MS 51): Reading and Writing Among the "Middling Sort".

Victoria Burke, University of Ottawa.

Translation as Image-Making: Elizabeth I's Translation of Boethius's Consolation of Philosophy.

Lysbeth Benkert, Northern State University.

The text and attribution of "Thou who dost all my thoughts employ": a new Moulsworth poem?

Matthew Steggle, Sheffield Hallam University.

"But Worth pretends": Discovering Jonsonian Masque in Lady Mary Wroth's Pamphilia to Amphilanthus.

Anita M. Hagerman, Southwest Missouri State University.

An Apology for Knowledge: Gender and the Hermeneutics of Incarnation in the Works of Aemilia Lanyer and Sor Juana InÚs de la Cruz.

B. R. Siegfried, Brigham Young University.

"The Wreck of Order" in Early Modern Women's Drama.

Irene Burgess, Wheeling Jesuit University.

"Outrage your face": Anti-Theatricality and Gender in Early Modern Closet Drama by Women.

Katherine O. Acheson, University of Waterloo.

Ann Bowyer's Commonplace Book (Bodleian Library Ashmole MS 51): Reading and Writing Among the "Middling Sort".

Victoria Burke, University of Ottawa.

Ann Bowyer's commonplace book (Bodleian Library Ashmole MS 51) is a document which reveals how one early seventeenth-century Englishwoman read, interacted with, and appropriated her reading material. Bowyer, the daughter of an urban craftsman, included poetic extracts from Drayton, Chaucer, Spenser, and many other writers in her manuscript, on a variety of topics. These pithy quotations were usually culled from Bowyer`s reading of individual editions of authors' works, rather than from dictionaries of quotations. Six poems have been included among her pages, including two by Ralegh and Donne, suggesting that she had access to this poetry in manuscript. The lines which Bowyer has degendered are particularly worthy of comment. Bowyer`s manuscript indicates that commonplace books could be much more than collections of received moral precepts; these compilations could offer even women of the middling sorts the opportunity to organize and alter a storehouse of knowledge as they saw fit.

Translation as Image-Making: Elizabeth I's Translation of Boethius's Consolation of Philosophy.

Lysbeth Benkert, Northern State University.

In the face of pressure from several fronts, Elizabeth I used her linguistic ability to project an image of herself as both an intellectual and a devout Christian. Through her ability to translate quickly and accurately, Elizabeth constructs an image of intellectual quickness as an alternative to the image of the youthful love-object employed by her male subjects, a necessary reconstruction considering her advancing age. In addition, her choice of Boethius's Consolation of Philosophy as her text acts as a politically laden statement in favor of Christian forbearance over the militarism demanded by Protestan reformers such as the Countess of Pembroke.

The text and attribution of "Thou who dost all my thoughts employ": a new Moulsworth poem?

Matthew Steggle, Sheffield Hallam University.

"Thou who dost all my earthly thoughts employ" is a frequently anthologized 22-line lyric normally credited to Mary Molesworth Monck (c.1682-1716). This article offers a critical edition of the poem based on nine manuscript and six printed sources, and concludes that the text of the version that has become most widely anthologized is corrupt in important respects. For instance, "Thou who dost" employs elaborate and contrived mid-point symmetry in a way more akin to earlier seventeenth-century poetry, a fact which in turn has a bearing on the question of attribution. In addition to reconsidering the poem's previous attributions to Mary Molesworth Monck and Elizabeth Wellwood Molesworth, this article evaluates the possibility that the poem should be ascribed to the recently rediscovered Martha Moulsworth, with whose one surviving poem this one has striking similarities.

"But Worth pretends": Discovering Jonsonian Masque in Lady Mary Wroth's Pamphilia to Amphilanthus.

Anita M. Hagerman, Southwest Missouri State University.

A common feature of Lady Mary Wroth's work is her ability to evocatively appropriate forms, twisting them to her own rhetorical purposes, and thereby asserting herself as a well-versed author while, at the same time, subverting or co-opting the formal elements of her literary influences. In this vein, Wroth's connections to Ben Jonson offer intriguing possibilities regarding both the content and form of her sonnet sequence Pamphilia to Amphilanthus. This analysis discusses the correlations between Pamphilia to Amphilanthus and the Jonsonian masque as it had developed by the time of the publication of Wroth's work in 1621.

An Apology for Knowledge: Gender and the Hermeneutics of Incarnation in the Works of Aemilia Lanyer and Sor Juana InÚs de la Cruz.

B. R. Siegfried, Brigham Young University.

Seventeenth century poets Aemilia Bassano Lanyer and Sor Juan InÚs de la Cruz both address the Christian tendency to see women's desire for knowledge as the genesis of carnality. In defence of women, Lanyer's Salve Deus and Sor Juana's La Respuesta develop similarly a thematics of genealogy by which they link the ravishing force of Christ's beauty with the desire that drives female intellection. Of particular interest is the manner in which each writer spins a thematic epiphany out of studied gender reversals, as Lanyer dons the rhetorical cloth of a sermonising prelate, and Sor Juana defrocks a discursively cross-dressed male critic.

"The Wreck of Order" in Early Modern Women's Drama.

Irene Burgess, Wheeling Jesuit University.

This article examines the function of corrupt women in three plays by early modern female playwrights: The Tragedy of Antonie by Mary Sidney Herbert, The Tragedy of Mariam, the Fair Queen of Jewry by Elizabeth Cary, and Love's Victory by Mary Wroth. For all three female characters, Cleopatra, Salome, and Venus, their corruption is inherent in their gender, particularly the sexuality they bring to their domestic arrangements. Thus, even the role of good wife, good sister, and good mother are undermined by the perceived innate corruption of their womanly natures. The female playwrights reveal an inherent ambivalence about whether these are characters to revile or celebrate; this ambivalence foregrounds fissures in the network of gender identification for participants in early modern culture.

"Outrage your face": Anti-Theatricality and Gender in Early Modern Closet Drama by Women.

Katherine O. Acheson, University of Waterloo.

Recent influential criticism of Renaissance literature and culture has emphasized the relationship between theatricality and gender. These works generally assume a liberatory potential, for both women and men, of the de-naturalization of sexual categories and the undoing of gender binaries. Female-authored drama of the period, however, does not seem to support these claims: in the plays with which this essay is concerned, The Tragedie of Antonie by Mary Sidney, and The Tragedy of Mariam, by Elizabeth Cary, the female protagonists refuse to perform: both heroines are famed for their beauty, yet both deface themselves; both are caught in the snares of the gaze of others, and both escape those snares. In both plays, little effort is made to construct the illusion of three-dimensional space or stage depth; there are few deictics that point to the playing space, and characters, especially the heroines, speak as if facing the audience directly, for a full frontal view, or their interlocutor, for a perfect profile. These features can, and have been, read, as historically-based critiques of the potential of gender-bending self-fashioning for women. Historicism, in this way, allows us to see what is ostensibly a failure of the plays as plays, as a feature of value which provides us with knowledge of the culture and its ideologies. There are further elements of the two plays, however, that a historicist approach does not illuminate, including the behaviour of the male characters, and the dramatic power of unseen, or absent, characters. If a historicist approach is supplemented with a psychoanalytic approach, we can read both the dimension of resistance in the plays, and the dimension in which resistance and revision produce positive dramatic effects.



© 2001-, Lisa Hopkins (Editor, EMLS).