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Chapter 2 Elizabeth Melville and the religious sonnet sequence in Scotland and England Sarah C. E. Ross T he lyrics in manuscript that Jamie Reid-Baxter has attributed to Elizabeth Melville, the Scottish religious poet and author of Ane Godlie Dreame (1603), include three sequences of religious sonnets, a poetic genre around which there clusters a language of ‘firsts’ in literary-critical discussion of the period. Anne Lock’s A Meditation of a Penitent Sinner (1560), a sequence of religious sonnets that paraphrase and expand on Psalm 51, has received extensive

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

, Cottegnies, Wright). Essays focus on the resources women writing poetry knew and encountered in chapters on classical inheritance, the religious sonnet sequence and the secular sonnet sequence. Using the work of Lucy Hutchinson, Elizabeth Melville, Lady Mary Wroth and Katherine Philips, these chapters explore the way these poets use both inherited texts and traditions and inherited poetic forms and conventions. Each of the chapters uses a specific example in order to ask us to reconsider the resources used in sixteenth- and seventeenth-century women’s poetry and the

in Early modern women and the poem