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Early Modern Women Writers (Schedule)


Class 1 (Mar. 31) — Sixteenth Century Precedents: Elizabeth I, Isabella Whitney, and Mary Sidney Herbert




Class 2 (Apr. 7) — Closet Drama: Elizabeth Cary



Class 3 (Apr. 14) — Renaissance Gender Debate: Cheap Print Pamphlets and Ballads



Class 4 (Apr. 21) — Defending Eve: Aemelia Lanyer



Class 5 (Apr. 28) — Digitizing Women: Hester Pulter



Class 6 (May 5) — Writing in Code:  Lady Mary Wroth


  • Primary Readings
    • Selections from Lady Mary Wroth (1586/87 – 1651 or 1653): 
      • Urania, Selections from Book I & Book IV, 1621
      • Pamphilia to Amphilanthus, 1621 (PDF)
        • Sonnet 1, “When nights black mantle” [P1]
        • Sonnet 14, “Am I thus conquer’d?” [P16]
        • Sonnet 22, “Like to the Indians” [P25]
        • Sonnet 35, “Faulce hope which feeds but to destroy” [P40]
        • Sonnet 48, “How like a fire doth love increase in mee” [P55]
        • “A Crowne of Sonnets dedicated to Love,” introductory material and all 14 sonnets [P77-90]
        • Sonnet 9, “My muse now hapy” [P103] 
    • Edward Denny:
      • “To Pamphilia from the Father in Law of Seralius” and Wroth’s response, “Railing Rimes Returned Upon the Author” (PDF
  • Critical Readings  
    • Kim Hall, “’I rather would wish to be a black-moor’: Beauty, Race, and Rank in lady Mary Wroth’s Urania,” in Women, “Race,” and Writing in the Early Modern Period (1994), 178-94 (PDF
    • Recommended
      • Helen Hackett, “The Torture of Limena: Sex and Violence in Lady Mary Wroth’s Urania,” in Kate Chedgdzoy et al. (eds), Voicing Women: Gender and Sexuality in Early Modern Writing (Keele, Staffs, 1996), 93-110 (PDF)
      • Tiffany Jo Werth, “’Soundly Wash’d’ or Interpretively Redeemed? Labor and Reading in Lady Mary Wroth’s Urania,” chap. 4 of The Fabulous Dark Cloister: Romance in England After the Reformation (John Hopkins, 2011) (PDF) 
      • Barbara Kiefer Lewalski, “Writing Women and Reading the Renaissance,” Renaissance Quarterly 44, no. 4 (Winter 1991): 792-81(PDF


Class 7 (May 12) — Writing the Female Metaphysical: Katherine Philips & John Donne


Primary Readings

Critical Readings 


Class 8 (May 19) — Writing New Worlds: Margaret Cavendish



Class 9 (May 26) — Writing Race:  Aphra Behn's "Oroonoko"



Class 10 (June 6) — Writing (from) the East: Lady Mary Montagu


  • Primary Readings
  • Critical Readings
    • “Introduction” to The Turkish Embassy Letters: Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, ed. Teresa Heffernan & Daniel O’Quinn (Bedford, 2013),11-34 (in the PDF linked above) 
    • Recommended
      • Sukanye Banerjee, “Lady Mary Montagu and the ‘Boundaries’ of Europe,” in Gender, Genre and Identity in Women’s Travel Writing, ed. Kristi Siegel (P. Lang, c. 2004), chap 2, 31-54 (PDF)
      • Mary Jo Kietzman, “Montagu’s Turkish Embassy Letters and Cultural Dislocation," Studies in English Literature, 1500-1900, 38, No. 3 (Summer, 1998): 537-552 (PDF)
      • Anne Secor, “Orientalism, Gender, and Class in Lady Mary Wortley Montau’s Turkish Embassy Letters: To Persons of Distinction, Men of Letters, Etc.,” Cultural Geographies 6, No. 4 (1999), 375-98 (PDF) 


Paper Due (June 10)


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