"More than Shakespeare’s “Dark Lady”: The Life and Work of Aemilia Lanyer"

Arizona Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies Public Programs Series presents:
"Fearless Females: Audacious and Feisty Women of the Middle Ages and Renaissance"
To learn more about this new series and other public programs that are offered by ACMRS, click here to visit our Public Programs Page.
"More than Shakespeare’s “Dark Lady”: The Life and Work of Aemilia Lanyer"
Presented by Erin McCarthy
Assistant Director, ACMRS
FREE AND OPEN TO THE PUBLIC
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Event Flyer

Aemilia Bassano Lanyer (c. 1569–1645) was born in London to Baptista Bassano, a court musician of Venetian descent, and Margaret Johnson, his “reputed wife.” As a girl, she was educated in the household Susan Bertie, Dowager Countess of Kent. She later became the mistress of the powerful Lord Chamberlain, Henry Carey, Lord Hunsdon; when she became pregnant with Hunsdon’s child, she was, according to astrologer Simon Forman, “for color married to a minstrel.” Her husband, court musician Alfonso Lanyer, reportedly “delte hardly with her and spent and consumed her goods.” These early experiences inform her Salve Deus Rex Judaeorum (1611), the first book of original English poetry by a woman to be published in the seventeenth century and one of the first books addressed specifically to a female audience. Lanyer, like most Renaissance authors, seems not to have made much money from publishing her work, and after her husband’s death, she attempted to support herself by opening a small school and securing a patent to weigh hay and grain rather than remarrying. Nevertheless, for much of the twentieth century, her accomplishments were overshadowed by dubious claims that she was the “Dark Lady” of Shakespeare’s sonnets. This talk will focus on three questions: Why was Lanyer thought to be Shakespeare’s “Dark Lady”? What are the stakes of thinking about her in this way? Most importantly, how can we best understand and appreciate Aemilia Lanyer’s own achievements?

Click here to visit the bookstore's website: Changing Hands Bookstore
Changing Hands Bookstore is located on the south-west corner of Guadalupe and McClintock in Tempe, just off the 101 or US-60.

Part XI of the series "Fearless Females: Audacious and Feisty Women of the Middle Ages and Renaissance"

Changing Hands Bookstore, 6428 South McClintock Drive Tempe, AZ 85283