Week 1: Introduction. The concept of Shakespeare and his Sister as Virginia Woolf envisaged it. Issues in comparing men and women writers. In what ways is writing gendered in the Renaissance? Is there a separate literary history for women?
'Isabella Whitney and the Female Legacy' by Wendy Wall, ELH 1991, 35-62
Page 38 of 35-62
Two amazing siblings who made money selling popular genres, for men and women. This session looks at the ‘Will and Testament’ of Isabella Whitney (in Danielle Clarke, ed., Renaissance Women Poets
) and Geoffrey Whitney’s A Choice of Emblemes
1586 (EEBO or LION which has no illustrations)
Week 3: Philip Sidney and his sister Mary This session looks at Mary Sidney’s commemoration of her brother’s works, and looks at their joint version of the Book of Psalms, which Mary finished after Philip died. We will hear from students on aspects of the literature and of the biography, and then focus on the Psalms to ask the million dollar question--is she a better poet than him and how might we judge? We shall focus on the Psalms of hers in Early Modern Women's Manuscript Poetry, and Three Renaissance Women Poets. More Psalms from both of them are in Literature Online--bring with you any that you like.
Week 4: William Shakespeare, and his Dark Lady?
Lady Mary Wroth has been suggested as the Dark Lady to whom Shakespeare wrote sonnets. She also wrote sonnets. This session compares the two. Look at the Mary Wroth selection in Early Modern Women's Manuscript Poetry and find the Dark Lady sonnets that Shakespeare wrote (127-152)
Week 5. The Black Dog and his tamer
Rachel Speght was so incensed at Joseph Swetnam’s 1615 attack on women that she answered him with her own pamphlet, A Mouzell for Melastomous. This session looks at both, and compares styles and arguments. Find the two pamphlets on EEBO. I will also give you an article by me, 'Anne Southwell, and the Pamphlet Debate: the politics of Gender. Class and Manuscript' in Debating Gender in Early Modern England' eds Malcolmson and Suzuki (Palgrave, 2002)
Week 6: John Donne and his friend Anne Southwell
In their youth, John Donne and Anne Southwell played rhetorical games together. This session looks at their respective efforts and judges the winner. There is a record of the News game played by all John Donne's friends in the 1615 edition of Thomas Overbury's The Wife. Om image 40 there is an entry by John Donne, ansered by AS (who ha been identified ss Anne Southwell) CAN you work out the rules of the game? Also intereting is the reat of the volume--the ideology of the poem The Wife, and of the jokey populist genre of Characters (the portraits of the women are particularloy intereating)Then we proceed to look at their adult poetry (whilst taking account of Anne Southwell’s views on the double standard for men and women writers). Look at John Donne's religious poetry--Anne Southwell's is in Early Modern Women's Manuscript Poetry.
Week 7: Fellow prophets Elinor Channel and Arise Evans.
Read A message from God, by a dumb woman to his Highness the Lord Protector. on EEBO.
What difference does gender make? Prophetesses such as Anna Trapnel were very influential in the mid-century.Elizabeth Poole was even consulted by the Army Council on whether to execute Charles 1. Why? You should be able to get Manfred Brod's article in Albion 1999: 'Politics and Prophecy in Seventeenth-Century England; the case of Elizabeth Poole.'
Week 8: This session compares Katherine Philips, the first famous 'poetess', with her the poet she used and imitated, John Donne. Reading for thiis session includes the first part of chapter 4 of Elizabeth Scott-Baumann's Forms of Englagement
(OUP 2013) Early Modern Women's Manuscript Poetry
has Philip's work: find Donne's on LION.
Week 9: Lucy Hutchinson, reader of Milton and epic poet
Lucy Hutchinson read Paradise Lost and then wrote her own epic poem on Genesis, Order and Disorder, which she published anonymously (it was of course assumed to be her brother's--ricidulous as he was a royalist) in 1679. This session compares their treatment of Eve: Order and Disorder ed David Norbrook (Blackwell, 2001) Cantos 3-5; the account of the Creation and the Fall. Compare with Paradise Lost books 4 and 9. Robert Wilcher wrote an interesting article in the Sprng 2010 volume of 'English' which you should be able to get on the web:
Lucy Hutchinson and Genesis: Paraphrase, Epic, Romance
Week 10 Lovers, friends? The Earl of Rochester and Aphra Behn
Rumours abound about the relationship between these two outrageous literary figures: he seems to mention her in his poems, and she produces poetry which seems to mimick his. In fact her explicit poetry was often assumed to be his! Is this, finally, progress for women?