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Writing the Way Out

Inheritance and Appropriation in Aemilia Lanyer, Isabella Whitney, Mary (Sidney) Herbert and Mary Wroth

Ann Margaret Lange

In the early modern period, there have been a vigorous debate in the public arena on the nature of women and their place in society. For instance, most women had been excluded from inheritance.
The author of this work is shedding light on how the notion of inheritance intrudes into the literature produced by women of the period.
She analyses the tropes of inheritance and appropriation as they are evidenced in the works of women from the upper strata of society – women such as Mary (Sidney) Herbert, the Countess of Pembroke, and Lady Mary Wroth, both scions of the renowned Sidney family – and also those produced by those from lower down in the social spectrum, such as Aemilia Lanyer and Isabella Whitney.

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Appendix E 327

Extract

Appendix E Synopsis of The First Part of the Countess of Montgomery’s Urania (Urania) Episode Pages We meet Urania, who is grieving because she has just discov- ered that she is not, as she thought, the daughter of shepherds, but that her parentage is unknown. 1–3 Urania discovers Perissus, who is mourning the loss of his be- loved Limena. 3 The story of Perissus and Limena, which ends in Limena’s anticipation of her incipient murder by her husband Philargus, is recounted to Urania by Perissus. 5–14 Urania counsels Perissus against despair and death as reactions to the probable murder of his beloved. He is advised instead to con- firm whether Limena is still living, and to revenge her if she has been murdered. Perissus is finally convinced and re-arms himself. 14–17 A short continuation of the story of Limena, as Perissus re- counts hearing from Limena’s parents that she has been killed. At the end of this, Perissus sets off on his quest. 17–18 Steriamus and Selarinus save Urania and her lamb from a wolf. They take her back to the cave where their sister (Selarina) is, and also where their aged father lies dying. Urania offers the lamb to feed their father. 19–20 Urania encounters Parselius. 21 Parselius briefly tells his name, title and story to Urania and her companions, and indicates that he believes that Urania is the lost princess (and sister of Amphilanthus) who he is seeking. 23–24 328 Episode Pages...

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