Lady Mary Wroth: Pamphilia to Amphilanthus in Manuscript and Print

The Other Voice in Early Modern Europe: The Toronto Series, Vol. 59

Lady Mary Wroth: Pamphilia to Amphilanthus in Manuscript and Print

Edited by Illona Bell and Steven W. May
2017 | 310 + xx pp. | 978-0-86698-579-6 | Paperback 6 x 9 in
MRTS 523 | $49.95 |

OVEME v.59.
Wroth’s private manuscript, printed here for the first time, shows her to be a greater poet — a more psychologically insightful, verbally sophisticated, and boldly original poet than scholars realized, while her carefully curated, re-conceptualized printed collection shows her to be a remarkably self-reflexive and critically astute writer. When the manuscript and printed sequences are read together, as this edition encourages readers to do, Wroth’s poetry looks more innovative, more erotic, and more shrewdly multivalent.

Edited by Illona Bell
Texts by Steven W. May and Illona Bell


Juxtaposing the texts of the manuscript Folger V.a.104 and the print 1621 versions of Mary Wroth’s poetry sequence “Pamphilia to Amphilanthus,” this edition contends that the manuscript, designed for a private audience, records the complex emotions attendant on an ongoing love affair between Wroth and her cousin William Herbert, third earl of Pembroke. Its eroticism was then toned down when revised for the print version directed to a public audience. Since much scholarship on this sequence is based on the printed text of 1621, this edition will have a dramatic impact on how Wroth’s poetry is read.
—Mary Ellen Lamb
Editor of Sidney Journal and Professor Emerita, Southern Illinois University at Carbondale