Motives of Woe: Shakespeare and Female Complaint - A Critical Anthology

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This anthology recovers a tradition of writing to which some of the greatest medieval and Renaissance poets - women as well as men - contributed. Centring on Shakespeare's neglected A Louers Complaint, it includes 'female'-voiced lyrics, chronicle poems, and fictional letters by a range of authors from Chaucer to Aphra Behn and Henry Carey. The texts are freshly edited from early manuscript and printed sources, and extensive, helpful glosses are provided. In his illuminating introduction, John Kerrigan outlines the development of 'female complaint', indicates how cultural pressures shaped it, and argues that the time is ripe for a revaluation of this literary genre. Shedding new light on Shakespeare and on the conventions of historical, pastoral, and epistolary discourse, Motives of Woe will be of interest to scholars in several branches of medieval and early modern studies.