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Editor: Susan Wiseman

In examining early modern women and the poem, this book explores how women use poetry, and how poems use women, in England and Scotland in the period 1550–1680. Several decades of critical writing on 'women's poetry', 'gender and poetry', and the representation of women, or gender, in poetry have produced a rich and complex critical and scholarly field. The book looks at the primary and secondary evidence concerning two key elements in the analysis of early modern women's writing, namely, women and the poem. It first explores the way women understood the poem in terms of the reception, influence and adaptation of past models and examples, working from the reception of classical texts. It focuses on the resources women writing poetry knew and encountered in chapters on classical inheritance, the religious sonnet sequence and the secular sonnet sequence. The book then examines the world of reading and readers, and looks at poems in terms of friendships, quarrels, competitions, coteries, networks and critical reception, both then and later. It also emphasises the tales that poems tell, and how those stories both register and shape the understanding of women and the poem in the world of potential readers. In examining women and the poem, the use of women as signifiers and bearers of meaning in poetry is as significant as women's literary production.

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Reading early modern women and the poem
Patricia Pender and Rosalind Smith

Afterword Reading early modern women and the poem Patricia Pender and Rosalind Smith I n 2007, the journal Women’s Writing dedicated an issue to early modern women’s writing following the 2005 conference ‘Still kissing the rod’. The papers published there highlighted both new directions in the field and issues central to the field’s conception that remained unresolved. On the one hand, critical work on a rapidly increasing number of early modern women writers was seen to be transforming concepts of early modern authorship, transmission practices and histories

in Early modern women and the poem
Lucy Hutchinson and the classicisation of scripture
Edward Paleit

Chapter 1 Women’s poetry and classical authors: Lucy Hutchinson and the classicisation of scripture Edward Paleit Introduction: the distant muses – early modern women poets and classical antiquity E arly modern women poets’ search for cultural authority and poetic  voice involved a vexed, sometimes contradictory relationship to literary models (as Sarah Ross and Line Cottegnies explore further in chapters 2 and 3). Classical poetry was especially awkward for women writers to accommodate and imitate, for a variety of social and cultural reasons. Greek and

in Early modern women and the poem
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Researching early modern women and the poem
Susan Wiseman

Introduction Researching early modern women and the poem Susan Wiseman Though by a sodaine and vnfeard surprise, thou lately taken wast from thy friends eies: Euen in that instant, when they had design’d to keipe thee, by thy picture still in minde: least thou like others lost in deths dark night shouldst stealing hence vanish quite out of sight; I did contend with greater zeale then Art, This shadow of my phantie to impart: which all shood pardon, when they vnderstand the lines were figur’d by a womans hand, who had noe copy to be guided by but Hales imprinted

in Early modern women and the poem
Exemplarity, female complaint and early modern women’s poetry
Rosalind Smith

Chapter 10 A ‘goodly sample’: exemplarity, female complaint and early modern women’s poetry Rosalind Smith I n 1596, Thomas Lodge wrote of the garrulous brothel-keeper Cousenage in Wits Miserie: Shee will reckon you vp the storie of Mistris Sanders, and weepe at it, and turne you to the Ballad ouer her chimney, and bid you looke there, there is a goodly sample: I wenches (saies she, turning hirselfe to hir maidens of yt second scise) looke to it, trust not these dissimulation men, there are few good of the[m], yt there are not.1 The story of ‘Mistris Sanders

in Early modern women and the poem
Genre and literary tradition in Katherine Philips’s early poetry
Gillian Wright

. Women’s ability to engage imaginatively with the full range of ‘retirement’ tropes and presuppositions would thus, for the most part, have been subject to important limitations – as might their self-confidence in using such authoritative but culturally distanced literary forms. Still more problematic for early modern women writers were the pre­ suppositions about authorship and public engagement on which traditional retirement literature was implicitly premised. Male poets in this tradition could generally assume that involvement in public life – the option so

in Early modern women and the poem
Patricia Pender

Chapter 9 Rethinking authorial reluctance in the ­paratexts to Anne Bradstreet’s poetry Patricia Pender A nne Bradstreet’s professions of inadequacy in much-anthologised poems such as ‘The author to her book’ and ‘The prologue’ make her exemplary of the modesty we have come to expect of early modern women writers. Her renditions of abject humility before literary tradition, her apparent objection to putting herself forward in print and her professed inability to complete the poetic projects she undertook have all helped to enshrine her as the quintessential

in Early modern women and the poem
Margaret J. M. Ezell

exchanges among the Restoration court wits and their collaborative writings.13 That such competition and rivalry among early modern women poets may have gone unremarked in critics’ representations of seventeenthcentury women writers is not particularly surprising. ‘Sisterhood’ (in the 1970s feminist sense) has been conceived of as united in the tireless and too often unrewarded efforts made by earlier literary historians to recover the writings by these women from archival obscurity and critical dismissal, especially given the understandable reluctance to appear to be

in Early modern women and the poem
Line Cottegnies

, before showing how we should see Wroth as ‘capitalizing’ on the Sidneian heritage rather than ‘capitulating’ to her male relatives: ‘Wroth is rightly viewed by most critics as a belated Sidneian imitator, whose diction and generic choices are ineluctably the product of her familial environment’. D. Clarke, The Politics of Early Modern Women’s Writing, Longman, London, 2001, pp. 213, 214. William J. Kennedy reads ‘an expression of totemic allegiance for the Sidney family’s achievements’ in Mary Worth’s Pamphilia to Amphilanthus’. W. J. Kennedy, The Site of Petrarchism

in Early modern women and the poem
Katherine Austen and the estate poem
Susan Wiseman

-century England’, Literature Compass, vol. 3, no. 6 (2006), pp. 1386–407; P. Hammons, ‘Widow, prophet, and poet: lyrical self-figurations in Katherine Austen’s “Book M” (1664)’, in B. Smith and U. Appelt (eds), Write or Be Written: Early Modern Women Poets and Cultural Constraints, Ashgate, Aldershot, 2001, pp. 3–27; S. Ross, ‘“And Trophes of his praises make”: providence and poetry in Katherine Austen’s “Book M”, 1664–1668’, in V. E. Burke and J. Gibson (eds), Early Modern Women’s Writing: Selected Papers from the Trinity/Trent Colloquium, Ashgate, Aldershot, 2004, pp. 181

in Early modern women and the poem