Aemilia Lanyer: Gender, Genre, and the Canon

University of Kentucky Press, 1998

Lanyer was a middle-class Londoner of Jewish-Italian descent and the mistress of Queen Elizabeth's Lord Chamberlain. But she is remembered today as the first Englishwoman to publish a substantial volume of original poems (1611). Her output is varied, subtle, provocative, and witty. The essays in this volume establish the intrinsic merit of Lanyer's poetry and use her work to interrogate her male contemporaries, Donne, Jonson, and Shakespeare. As a whole the collection offers a sustained discussion of the processes of canonization and the construction of literary history.