A Companion to Early Modern Women's Writing(Hardback) - 2002 by Anita Pacheco Arturo Pacheco

By Anita Pacheco Arturo Pacheco

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Lady Elizabeth Delaval blamed her governess for encouraging her in such reading matter, concluding, when she came to write her memoirs, ‘Thus vainely passed the blossom time of my life which should have been spent in laying a good foundation of what is to be learned in such books as teach us heavenly wisdom’ (Surtees Society, 190, 1978: 32). Two kinds of ‘romance’ are being referred to here, one which might be termed the ‘chivalric’ romance and which included works such as Morte d’Arthure, Amadis de Gaule, The Mirrour of Knighthood and the long-popular tales of Robin Hood, the other being the new generation of romance, originating in France in the mid-seventeenth century and quickly being translated into English – the ‘Cassander, the Great Cyrus, Cleopatra and Astrea’ which Elizabeth Delaval had read.

6’ (Select Works of John Bale, ed. H. Christmas, 1849: 199). Foxe celebrated the lives of other women contemporary with Askew, who held fast to their reformed religion in the face of ‘unbelieving’ husbands. Other women expressed their wish for a degree of independence by ignoring the customary injunction to marry only with the advice of friends and parents. Anne More, daughter of Sir George More of Loseley near Guildford, resorted to secrecy in her marriage with John Donne (R. C. Bald, John Donne: A Life, 1970: 128–90).

Two kinds of ‘romance’ are being referred to here, one which might be termed the ‘chivalric’ romance and which included works such as Morte d’Arthure, Amadis de Gaule, The Mirrour of Knighthood and the long-popular tales of Robin Hood, the other being the new generation of romance, originating in France in the mid-seventeenth century and quickly being translated into English – the ‘Cassander, the Great Cyrus, Cleopatra and Astrea’ which Elizabeth Delaval had read. It should be said that men, too, read these works, Francis Kirkman, for example, who later translated part of Amadis and other romances, recollecting with pleasure his reading of them in his youth, when he ‘wished myself squire to one of these knights’.

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