The Sidney family romance : Mary Wroth, William Herbert, and the early modern construction of gender (Book, 1993) [WorldCat.org]
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The Sidney family romance : Mary Wroth, William Herbert, and the early modern construction of gender

Author: Gary F Waller
Publisher: Detroit : Wayne State University Press, ©1993.
Edition/Format:   Print book : Biography : EnglishView all editions and formats
Summary:
William Herbert (1580-1630), third earl of Pembroke, and Lady Mary Wroth (1587?-1653?) were first cousins, the nephew and niece of Sir Philip Sidney, whose family was one of remarkable literary and political importance. Herbert was a poet, a voluminous letter writer, and one of the Jacobean court's richest and most powerful courtiers and politicians. Wroth was arguably the most important woman writer of the period;  Read more...
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Genre/Form: Biography
Biographies
History
Named Person: Mary Wroth, Lady; William Herbert Pembroke, Earl of; Sidney family.; William Herbert Pembroke, Earl of; Sidney family.; Mary Wroth, Lady
Material Type: Biography
Document Type: Book
All Authors / Contributors: Gary F Waller
ISBN: 0814324363 9780814324363
OCLC Number: 27222379
Description: 323 pages ; 24 cm
Contents: 1. The Sidney Family Romance: Breeching the Subject --
2. "A free man": The Gendering of William Herbert, earl of Pembroke --
3. "Be that you are": The Gendering of Mary Sidney, Lady Wroth --
4. Late Petrarchism: The Inter(dis)courses of the Sidney Family Romance --
5. "Sophisticate Affection": The Poetry of the earl of Pembroke --
6. "Watch, gaze, and marke": The Poetry of Mary Wroth --
7. "Like one in a gay masque": The Sidney Cousins in the Theaters of Court and Country --
8. "Some thing more exactly related then a fixion": The Countesse of Mountgomeries Urania --
9. Restoring What We Have Missed.
Responsibility: Gary Waller.

Abstract:

William Herbert (1580-1630), third earl of Pembroke, and Lady Mary Wroth (1587?-1653?) were first cousins, the nephew and niece of Sir Philip Sidney, whose family was one of remarkable literary and political importance. Herbert was a poet, a voluminous letter writer, and one of the Jacobean court's richest and most powerful courtiers and politicians. Wroth was arguably the most important woman writer of the period; she authored the first Petrarchan poetic sequence, the first prose romance, and one of the first plays in English by a woman. In addition to their connections as cousins and as writers, they were lovers and the parents of two illegitimate children. The Sidney Family Romance is both a "cultural biography" and a symptomatic reading of the sexual and textual relationships of Herbert and Wroth. Waller's analysis of their letters and literary works relies on a variety of critical apparatuses - social history, current political and social theories of the Jacobean period, and most notably (feminist) psychoanalytic theory. In both his biographical information and interpretive comments, Waller focuses on subject construction and gender construction of the early modern period, to find that Herbert's poems proceed from his life at court to engage in the gender politics of Petrarchan poetry, while Wroth's work proceeds from her disempowered position to project a desire for an autonomy which would lead to mutuality between the sexes. Waller tries to find ways of analyzing the "inner lives" of his subjects, in the absence of direct evidence, and with a paucity of documentation. He examines historical documents, including the writings of the two cousins, and recent historical research, along with contemporary studies of family interactions and gender construction and detailed case histories drawn from nearly a century of clinical and therapeutic studies. The author concludes with a discussion of the crisis of gender in the seventeenth century as a contemporary crisis as well. Family history has long been central to Renaissance studies. The Sidney Family Romance proceeds far beyond any previous works in bringing to bear the very rich and complicated network of ideas, observations, and literary images in the works of Herbert and Wroth.

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