1st Edition

Early Modern Women Writers Engendering Descent Mary Sidney Herbert, Mary Sidney Wroth, and their Genealogical Cultures

By Marie H. Loughlin Copyright 2022
    292 Pages 6 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    292 Pages 6 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Focusing on Mary Sidney Herbert and Mary Sidney Wroth’s use of the figures of origin, descent, and inheritance in their poetry and prose, this book examines how these central women writers situated themselves in terms of early modern England’s rich ancestral cultures, employing these and other genealogical concepts to talk about authorship, family, selfhood, and memory. In turn, both Sidney Herbert and Sidney Wroth also shaped their works in relation to the ways in which writers within their familial communities and literary coteries constructed them as Sidneys, heirs, descendants, and future ancestors, in genres ranging from the patronage dedication and pastoral eclogue to mythographic genealogia and georgic poetry.

    In the intersection of ancestry, death, sexuality, and reproduction, the book contends that Sidney Herbert and Sidney Wroth develop their authorship within the simultaneous rigidity and flexibility of their world’s genealogical discourses.

    Introduction: Living in a Genealogical Age: Women and the Early Modern Cultures of Ancestry

    1. Mary Sidney Herbert’s Genealogical Cultures: Family, Household, Community

    2. In the Hands of Others: Mary Sidney Herbert as Morientis Imago Philippi

    3. Abraham Fraunce’s The Countess of Pembroke’s Ivychurch (1591, 1592) and Mary Sidney Herbert’s Mythographic Genealogical Communities

    4. Revising Reproduction, Descent, and Midwifery in Thomas Moffet’s The Silkewormes, and their Flies (1599)

    5. In Her Own Hands: Mary Sidney Herbert’s "To the Angell Spirit of the Most Excellent Sir Philip Sidney"

    6. Mary Sidney Wroth’s Genealogical Cultures: Family, Household, Community

    7. In the Hands of Others: Mary Sidney Wroth’s Genealogical Imagining

    8. Ordinary Remembering, Confusing, and Forgetting in Urania’s Genealogical Archive

    9. Extraordinary Remembering and Forgetting at the Urania’s Leucadian Rock

    Conclusion: Whither Genealogy?


    Marie H. Loughlin is an associate professor of English literature in the department of English and Cultural Studies at the University of British Columbia-Okanagan. She has published in the areas of early modern women’s writing, drama, concepts of the body, and sexuality.