Elizabethan Women and the Poetry of Courtship

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This 1999 book offers an original study of lyric form and social custom in the Elizabethan age. Ilona Bell explores the tendency of Elizabethan love poems not only to represent an amorous thought, but to conduct the courtship itself. Where studies have focused on courtiership, patronage and preferment at court, her focus is on love poetry, amorous courtship, and relations between Elizabethan men and women. The book examines the ways in which the tropes and rhetoric of love poetry were used to court Elizabethan women (not only at court and in the great houses, but in society at large) and how the women responded to being wooed, in prose, poetry and speech. Bringing together canonical male poets and women writers, Ilona Bell investigates a range of texts addressed to, written by, read, heard or transformed by Elizabethan women, and charts the beginnings of a female lyric tradition.