Social convention may have prevented Renaissance women writers from openly taking part in the political and religious debates of their day, but they found varied and innovative ways to intervene. Collecting the work of three great poets-Isabella Whitney, Mary Sidney, and Aemilia Lanyer-this volume repositions women writers of the Renaissance by presenting their poems in the context of their history and culture.
Whitney's poems offer the only glimpse into her life, express a concern for women's lack of social and economic power, and powerfully evoke sixteenth-century London. Sidney produced potent translations of Petrarch's works and the Psalms, as well as original verse. Lanyer wrote poems that advocate and praise female virtue and Christian piety, but reflect a desire for an idealized, classless world. The strong and original voices of these three women-each from different social, cultural, and historical strata-demonstrate the emergence of a new female identity during the Renaissance and broaden the common notions of English Literature's golden age.
For more than seventy years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,700 titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-date translations by award-winning translators.