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Renaissance Women Poets: Isabella Whitney, Mary Sidney and Aemilia Lanyer written by Isabella Whitney

 

Renaissance Women Poets: Isabella Whitney, Mary Sidney and Aemilia Lanyer written by Isabella Whitney

Overview:

Social convention may have prevented Renaissance women writers from openly taking part in the political and religious debates of their day, but they found varied and innovative ways to intervene. Collecting the work of three great poets-Isabella Whitney, Mary Sidney, and Aemilia Lanyer-this volume repositions women writers of the Renaissance by presenting their poems in the context of their history and culture. Whitney's poems offer the only glimpse into her life, express a concern for women's lack of social and economic power, and powerfully evoke sixteenth-century London. Sidney produced potent translations of Petrarch's works and the Psalms, as well as original verse. Lanyer wrote poems that advocate and praise female virtue and Christian piety, but reflect a desire for an idealized, classless world. The strong and original voices of these three women-each from different social, cultural, and historical strata-demonstrate the emergence of a new female identity during the Renaissance and broaden the common notions of English Literature's golden age.

Synopsis:

Social convention may have prevented Renaissance women writers from openly taking part in the political and religious debates of their day, but they found varied and innovative ways of intervening indirectly.

Isabella Whitney explored issues of sexual morality and her sense of exclusion from the vibrantly greedy and commercial London of the 1570s. Mary Sidney, sister of Sir Philip, produced powerful translations of Petrarch and the Psalms as well as original verse in order to mourn her late brother, develop his legacy and promote the Protestant cause. Aemilia Lanyer, probably the most obviously 'feminist' of these three, wrote poetry which defends Eve's actions in the Garden of Eden, celebrates female virtue and spirituality, and argues for the creation of a non-hierarchical community of 'good women'. All are strong and original voices which decisively alter our picture of the golden age of English Literature.

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Title: Renaissance Women Poets: Isabella Whitney, Mary Sidney and Aemilia Lanyer

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