Mary Sidney Herbert, Countess of Pembroke, was renowned in her own time for her metrical translation of biblical Psalms, several original poems, translations from French and Italian, and her literary patronage. William Shakespeare used her Antonius as a source, Edmund Spenser celebrated her original poems, John Donne praised her Psalmes, and Lady Mary Wroth and Aemilia Lanyer depicted her as an exemplary poet. Arguably the first Englishwoman to be celebrated as a literary figure, she has also attracted considerable modern attention, including more than two hundred critical studies. This volume offers a brief introduction to her life and an extensive overview of the critical reception of her works, reprints some of the most essential and least accessible essays about her life and writings, and includes a full bibliography.
Contents: Introduction; Bibliography; Chronology; Part I Original Works: Davies's Astraea and other contexts of the Countess of Pembroke's 'A Dialogue', Mary C. Erler; 'To the angell spirit…': Mary Sidney's entry into the 'world of words', Beth Wynne Fisken; 'Love which hath never done': the Countess of Pembroke's Elegies and the Apology for Copia, Clare R. Kinney; Two unpublished letters by Mary Herbert, Countess of Pembroke, Steven W. May; Mary Sidney and gendered strategies for the writing of poetry, Shannon Miller; Ficinian elements in selected poems of Mary Sidney Herbert, Countess of Pembroke, Elizabeth Mary Tilyou; Mary Sidney's '… two shepherds', G.F. Waller. Part II Translations: Antonius: Mary Herbert: Englishing a purified Cleopatra, Tina Krontiris; Shakespeare's response to dramatic tradition in Anthony and Cleopatra, Michael Steppat. The Triumph of Death: 'Lover's songs shall turne to holy psalmes': Mary Sidney and the transformation of Petrarch, Danielle Clarke. A Discourse of Life and Death: The style of the Countess of Pembroke's translation of Philippe de Mornay's Discours de la Vie et de la Mort, Diane Bornstein. Part III Psalms: The Queen's proposed visit to Wilton House in 1599 and the 'Sidney Psalms', Michael G. Brennan; George Gascoigne's and Mary Sidney's versions of Psalm 130, Roy T. Eriksen; God's 'scholer': the Countess of Pembroke's Psalmes and Beza's Psalmorum Davidis… Libri Quinque, Noel J. Kinnamon; The influence of medieval rabbinical commentaries on the Countess of Pembroke's Psalm 58, June Leavitt; The Countess of Pembroke's Ruins of Rome, Anne Lake Prescott; Circulating the Sidney-Pembroke Psalter, Debra Rienstra and Noel Kinnamon; The Sidneys and the Psalms, Theodore L. Steinberg. Part IV Literary Contexts: Multiple Arcadias and the literary quarrel between Fulke Greville and the Countess of Pembroke, Joel Davis; Sidney's 2 riddles, Wendy Gibson; 'The highest matter in the noblest form': the influence of the Sidney Psalms, Ha