By Elizabeth Heale
The arrival of rather reasonable variants within the mid-16th century produced an explosion of verse, a lot of which represented the 1st individual speaker as a model of the writer. This publication examines ways that writers, usually looking development of their careers, harnessed verse for self-promotional reasons. Texts studied comprise a manuscript autobiography via Thomas Whythorne, revealed verse by means of a girl, Isabella Whitney, trip and conflict narratives, in addition to canonical texts via Spenser, Sidney, and Shakespeare.
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Extra info for Autobiography and Authorship in Renaissance Verse (Early Modern Literature in History)
81 Her version of her female self, economically marginal and without a secure domestic place, but able and willing to assert that self publicly through her pen, gives us the most unusual example of a new kind of autobiographical self-presentation and narrative that emerges from the midcentury miscellanies. More self-reflexively than most, Whitney’s ‘WYLL and Testament’ constructs her autobiographical self as a trace on paper, a ghost-like absence in the living world of London unable to buy or even bequeath anything but fantasies.
His absence produces doubt and misunderstanding foregrounding the instability of writing, its lack of a seemingly authenticating voice and presence. Tymetes’ first letter from abroad is in his own blood, bringing his bodily presence as a proof of his sincerity to his lady. His second, written in ink and charging Pyndara to avoid the shame of Cressida by remaining faithful to him, produces, rather than assuages, distrust. Each lover doubts the other’s writing; ‘For some doe weepe that feele no wo’, Pyndara tells her lover: The more you seeme to me in wofull wise to playne, The sooner I perswade my selfe that you do nought but fayne.
3 In the process of reviewing his life in terms of this, and other, conventional models, the manuscript volume also, on occasion, becomes a commonplace book in which Whythorne copies out salutory quotations from a variety of biblical, classical and contemporary sources. There are contradictory signals about who might be the implied addressee(s) of the manuscript. A prefatory poem addressed to ‘yee yowthfull Imps’ at the start of the manuscript claims that in the volume, ‘yoong yowths, are learned lessons large’.