Mary Wroth and hermaphroditic circulation
in Early modern women and the poem
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This chapter talks about Mary Wroth's publication of Urania that will be familiar to many people. It sets out the scene for an analysis of the circulation and recirculation of her vituperative poetic exchange with Edward Denny. Wroth's dangerous supplement, which transformed Denny's male poem into a positive, hermaphroditic hybrid, was repressed. By adding her own libel to Denny's in a process that turned his poem inside out, Wroth created a kind of literary hermaphrodite: a conjoined poem that spliced her defence of her female authorship onto his misogynistic slur. In his poem, Denny called Wroth a 'Hermophradite in show', attempting to figure her as the 'monster' he claims she has become because of her 'deed' in writing her romance.

Editor: Susan Wiseman

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