Gender and Literature/Art

Lady Mary Wroth's Subject Formation: On Constancy in Pamphilia to Amphilanthus

Wang Shanshan
The English Department of Peking University
Journal of Beijing International Studies University 2013-12

Abstract:Lady Mary Wroth's Pamphilia to Amphilanthus, the fi rst Petrarchan sonnet sequence written by a woman writer in the English literary history, was a valuable attempt in the genre traditionally considered male. Focusing on the subject matter"love", with reference to the social and personal contexts in which the sonnet sequence was produced, the paper explores how the poet's writing is infl uenced by women's passive and objectifi ed position in love and marriage in general, and how she manages to form her own subjectivity by upholding the concept of"constancy"in particular. However, "constant lover", the image self-fashioned by the poet as a desiring subject, fi ts well in with the social and ethical discourses of objectifying women in early modern England, which though legitimates the behavior of subject formation by a woman, actually undermines the subject constructed by the poet herself.
Keywords:Lady Mary Wroth, Pamphilia to Amphilanthus, Constancy, Subjectivity, Subject Formation

Paper type:Published