Wroth’s private manuscript, printed here for the first time, shows her to be a greater poet — a more psychologically insightful, verbally sophisticated, and boldly original poet than scholars realized, while her carefully curated, re-conceptualized printed collection shows her to be a remarkably self-reflexive and critically astute writer. When the manuscript and printed sequences are read together, as this edition encourages readers to do, Wroth’s poetry looks more innovative, more erotic, and more shrewdly multivalent.
“Juxtaposing the texts of the manuscript Folger V.a.104 and the print 1621 versions of Mary Wroth’s poetry sequence “Pamphilia to Amphilanthus,” this edition contends that the manuscript, designed for a private audience, records the complex emotions attendant on an ongoing love affair between Wroth and her cousin William Herbert, third earl of Pembroke. Its eroticism was then toned down when revised for the print version directed to a public audience. Since much scholarship on this sequence is based on the printed text of 1621, this edition will have a dramatic impact on how Wroth’s poetry is read.”
Mary Ellen Lamb
Editor of Sidney Journal and Professor Emerita, Southern Illinois University at Carbondale
ILONA BELL is Clarke Professor of English Emerita at Williams College. She is the author of Elizabethan Women and the Poetry of Courtship (1998) and Elizabeth I: The Voice of a Monarch (2010). Her edited works include John Donne: Selected Poems (2006) and John Donne: Collected Poetry (2012).
STEVEN W. MAY is adjunct Professor of English at Emory University. His books include The Elizabethan Courtier Poets (1991), Queen Elizabeth I: Selected Works (2004), Elizabethan Poetry: A Bibliography and First-Line Index of English Verse, 1559–1603 (2004), and with Alan Bryson, Verse Libel in Renaissance England and Scotland (2016).
Iter and the Arizona Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies, 2017
The Other Voice in Early Modern Europe: The Toronto Series 59
Medieval and Renaissance Texts and Studies 523
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