The Sapphic context of Lady Mary Wroth’s Pamphilia to Amphilanthus
in Early modern women and the poem
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Lady Mary Wroth has often been read as the product of an unusually brilliant literary genealogy rather than an individual author in her own right. Ovid obviously provided Mary Wroth with the title for her sonnet sequence, 'Pamphilia to Amphilanthus', which reads like the title of an Ovidian epistle. It is unfortunately impossible to establish whether Wroth actually read Louise Labe, but her Pamphilia to Amphilanthus presents interesting similarities with Labe's sonnets in terms of gender politics and self-fashioning. The significance of Labe's identification with Sappho has been studied in depth by Francois Rigolot and Joan DeJean, who have shown the importance of the Sapphic Renaissance for her self-fashioning as an author. The publication of Labe's poems coincided with the publication of Pseudo-Longinus's Greek treatise on the sublime by Francesco Robortello in Basel in 1554.

Editor: Susan Wiseman


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