Wroth again aims at female interiority, as Pamphilia
's eyes are admonished to guard against the watching eyes that try to penetrate her own look.
The sonnet form, of course, traditionally is taken up by pining and unrequited lovers like Wroth', Pamphilia
. Wroth, a belated practitioner of a form popular in the sixteenth century, followed in the footsteps of the early translators of Petrarch, Sir Thomas Wyatt and Henry Howard, Earl of Surrey, and ensuing sequences such as Spenser's Faerie Queene and Shakespeare's Sonnets.
In her sonnet sequence Pamphilia
to Amphilanthus, for example, Wroth locates authority with the female speaker by undermining the male beloved through an insistent counterpoising of speech and silence, absence and presence (speech and presence in themselves being traditional male tools for the control of women).
The Sidney family romance makes its appearance in the many intertwined plots of Urania, where brothers trade sisters, and where Pamphilia
transgressively chooses a cousin as lover, freeing herself to rule her country if not her heart and to become the poet who makes art out of her suffering.
In the manuscript continuation of the Urania the first cousins Pamphilia
and Amphilanthus, the characters generally taken to represent Wroth and Herbert, exchange vows before witnesses in what is effectively a marriage per verba de praesenti similar to that witnessed by Cariola in Webster's Duchess of Malfi.
In twelve substantial chapters, Kennedy meticulously follows the threads of these issues from the Italian commentators' elaborations of Petrarch's political identities, to the rival deployments of the commentaries' versions of the political Petrarch in the lyrics and vernacular programs of Du Bellay, Ronsard, and Clement Marot, to Philip Sidney's incorporation of a qualified "Italianate" Petrarchan model into his Anglican Defence of Poetry and Astrophil and Stella, to Mary Wroth's redemption of her uncle's problematic Petrarchism in her own Pamphilia
Wiseman shows how female poets found an authoritative voice by using the figure of echo (or Echo), while Helen Hackett argues that Pamphilia
's withdrawal into privacy in Urania is paradoxically enabling for her (and by extension Mary Wroth) as a writer.
We have in her heroine Pamphilia
the figure of an intelligent and discziminating reader of fiction, and in the experiences of her other female characters a powerful diversity of responses to the pressures on women to conform to the patriarchal norms of early seventeenth-century society.
Pritchard has fruitfully developed the pioneering work of Gary Waller, who in 1977 published the first old-spelling edition of Pamphilia
to Amphilanthus, and the late Josephine Roberts, whose impressively researched old-spelling edition of the complete poems appeared in 1983.
Munroe then shifts to yet another imagined garden space in the form of Lady Mary Wroth's sequence of sonnets entitled Pamphilia
To Amphilanthus (1621).
Lost children stand, she asserts, at the intersection of geographical and emotional concerns in the Urania but appear differently in the first, printed part and the second, manuscript one, where they are preparing to succeed Urania, Pamphilia
, and Amphilanthus.
to Amphilanthus (in which the female figure usurps the power of words) but also even some of Petrarch's own lamentations of male inadequacy.