By Rosalind Smith (auth.)
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Extra info for Sonnets and the English Woman Writer, 1560–1621: The Politics of Absence
A more flexible and contingent model of gender opens up the possibilities and limitations of women writing in some of the same ways as men at this point in history at least, in ways that reflect the complexity of each historical moment of a text's production and circulation. 2 Generating Absence: The Sonnets of Mary Stuart In 1996, Jennifer Summit's article 'The Arte of a Ladies Penne: Elizabeth I and the Poetics of Queenship' argued for the first time that the relationship between Elizabeth I and her cousin Mary Queen of Scots was played out through the circulation of their texts.
The major sonneteers in the English tradition up to 1560 were Surrey and, more particularly, Wyatt, who also translated the psalms including a paraphrase of Psalm 51. Although Wyatt and Surrey wrote in the earlier half of the sixteenth century, the delay in their publication gives an originality to the form for a reader such as Lock, whose merchant upbringing may have excluded her from access to or knowledge of the manuscript versions of these poems circulating in the court. Wyatt's Penitential Psalms were first printed in 1549, but more significantly the widely circulated first edition of Tottel's Miscellany was published in 1557.
These are avenues exploited by Lock again in 1572 in a manuscript produced by two of the Cooke sisters, Elizabeth Hoby and Mildred Cecil, dedicated to Leicester and aimed again at Queen Elizabeth. Lock's Latin poem in the Bartholo Silva manuscript forms part of a Protestant humanist project to conciliate Elizabeth and direct her towards a more radical position, in line with the politics of Lock's second husband, Edward Dering. 60 It is again a political text, but one that is circulated in ways that might be defined as feminine only through a particular, local circulation history: in this instance through a mobilization of a particular patronage network and the pursuit of a Protestant political agenda.