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The Tartar Girl, The Persian Princess, And Early Modern English Women's Authorship From Elizabeth I To Mary Wroth

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Chapter Summary

This chapter addresses the methodological problem of how to assess women's agency in the early modern period beyond the positivistic search for works literally written by women. It does so by arguing that women brought to England from Muslim lands during the late sixteenth century through the early seventeenth century informed the negotiation of authority by Queen Elizabeth, who was the first woman since the Middle Ages to serve as England's sole sovereign, and the negotiation of authorship by Lady Mary Wroth. The presence of these women is refracted through Wroth's representation of the Tartar/Persian princess in the Urania, as well as incidentally registered in English men's accounts. The chapter responds to the refrain in studies of early modern literature and culture, especially those focusing on English encounters outside Western Europe.

Keywords: Elizabeth; England; MaryWroth; Persian princess; tartar girl; women's agency



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