'Dramatizing Penshurst' brings to life the remarkable literary history of the Sidney family by staging 'Love's Victory' (1617), by Lady Mary Wroth
at her home, Penshurst Place.
Volume II focuses on the literary output of the Sidneys, particularly on Sir Philips Arcadia and his Defence of Poesy, the poetry of his brother, Robert, and the writings of Lady Mary Wroth
and Mary Sidney Herbert.
Sixteen poets are treated in chapter-length studies; three of them are female poets: Katherine Philips, Lady Mary Wroth
, Anne Vaughan Locke.
If Frye's final chapter on Lady Mary Wroth
and The Countess of Montgomery's Urania departs from the representation of "actual" cloth (as on the stage) or the analysis of the textual/textile practices of "actual" women and their domestic practices, it nevertheless shows the ways in which the culture of textiles influences the pen, if not the needle, of this prominent female author.
Fumagalli innovatively pairs the seventeenth-century early modern writer Lady Mary Wroth
and her novel The Countesse of Montgomerie Urania (1621) with contemporary Jamaican sociologist and poet Erna Brodber's Jane and Louisa Will Soon Come Home (1980) to demonstrate how both are invested in "alterations of romance templates" (p.
Returning the argument to the Sidney family in chapter five, Sanchez views Lady Mary Wroth
as doubtful of the efficacy of the modes of political resistance her uncle articulates.
The Countess of Leicester was related by marriage to some of the most important English women writers, Mary Sidney Herbert, Countess of Pembroke, and Lady Mary Wroth
, who depicts Robert and Dorothy as a loving couple in her prose romance Urania.
Part 1 explores the roles of the "old nurse" and other female storytellers in the fictional worlds of Edmund Spenser, Sir Philip Sidney, Lady Mary Wroth
, and Anna Weamys, as well as in John Aubrey's (also fictional) historiographical project.
The book is divided into four chapters after its introduction, covering the sonnets attributed to Anne Lock and Mary Stuart, the Pandora sonnets, and the work of Lady Mary Wroth
. In the introduction Smith offers a fascinating and comprehensive background to the work of female writers of the period, both in England and abroad, and argues convincingly for the inclusion of these 'problematic texts' (p.
While the exclusion of certain authors such as Lady Mary Wroth
, and the limited references to Mary Sidney Herbert and Katherine Philips have been questioned (Bennett 378), the choice of works allows for a useful comparison of plays both prior to the interregnum when women did not have access to the public stage and post Restoration when they did.
Indeed, one of the utopias investigated here, Lady Mary Wroth
's Countess of Montgomery's Urania, is a sequel to and argument with Sir Philip Sidney's Arcadia.
Nevertheless, if one takes female performers' theatrical interests into consideration as I referred to the cases of Lady Mary Wroth
and Queen Henrietta Maria earlier one might consider them as the first women who consciously channelled their creative energies into stage activity.