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By Elizabeth Heale

The appearance of fairly reasonable versions within the mid-16th century produced an explosion of verse, a lot of which represented the 1st individual speaker as a model of the writer. This ebook examines ways that writers, usually looking development of their careers, harnessed verse for self-promotional reasons. Texts studied comprise a manuscript autobiography by means of Thomas Whythorne, revealed verse via a girl, Isabella Whitney, go back and forth and struggle narratives, in addition to canonical texts via Spenser, Sidney, and Shakespeare.

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63 In the following poem, ‘He craues his mistresse to accept his wryting being otherwise insufficient to winne good liking from her’ (p. 375), the lover contrasts his own position with those who can impress their mistresses by their physical presences: through their singing, or dancing, or martial appearance. Writing from abroad may prove the writer to be worthier than the factitious displays of the ‘carpet knights’ at home, but as in the Echo poem that precedes it, this poem figures the lover-poet’s existence as insubstantial and bodiless, an echoing sound or a trace on a page.

94) Turbervile’s readers are left to negotiate as best they can the mise en abyme that opens when the language of moral counsel is offered to us as truth in a poem by a male poet ventriloquizing a female character who will prove a second Criseyde or Helen. Similar anxieties about the uncertainty of language detached from an authenticating voice or presence are evident in a sequence of amorous verses in Epitaphes and Sonnettes in which the poet seems to figure himself as protagonist. This collection of verses with its own title page probably appeared appended to Tragical Tales, thought to have been printed in 1574 or 1576, although the only surviving edition is dated 1587.

229). The verses, written in her manuscript album, are answered by an encouraging line from the lady. The lengthy head note tells us: You shall now understand, that soone after this answer of hirs, the same Author chaunced to be at a supper in hir company, where were also hir brother, hir husband, and an old lover of hirs by whom she had bin long suspected. Nowe, although there wanted no delicate viands to content them, yit their chief repast was by entreglancing of lookes. G. being stoong with hot affection, could none otherwise relieve his passion but by gazing.

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