The Writings of an English Sappho by Elizabeth Cooke Hoby Russell
Edited by Patricia Phillippy with translations from Greek and Latin by Jaime Goodrich.
This edition of the writings of Elizabeth Cooke Hoby Russell (1540-1609) unites in one volume the varied corpus of a prolific early modern woman writer, including her unpublished correspondence, manuscript poems, monumental inscriptions and elegies, courtroom appearances, and ceremonial performances, as well as her printed translation of A Way of Reconciliation of a Good and Learned Man. Presenting Russell’s manuscript and material texts not as scattered, disparate productions but as elements within a unified authorial program, this edition offers a rich experience of the genres, conventions, and formalities of early modern English culture, and reveals the astounding degree of self-expression they could afford to an innovative author. In these formidable writings, women’s erudition is defended as an inalienable birthright and a defining feature of femininity.
“In this weighty edition of Elizabeth Cooke Hoby Russell’s works, based on extensive archival research, Patricia Phillippy brings together all known writings by her: letters, poems in English, Latin, and Greek, documents describing and planning christenings, weddings, and funerals, monumental inscriptions, entertainments, petitions, and Russell’s will. This ambitious and timely collection puts into practice recent critical arguments about the nature of women’s writings and the importance of occasional verse, familial poetry, letters, and petitions as characteristically women’s work. This collection also situates Russell, a woman, squarely and influentially in the humanist tradition, and explores her important place in English letters. This edition moves the field of early modern women’s studies into new territory, with its treatment of monumental verse as an integral part of Russell’s oeuvre.”
– Jane Donawerth, Professor of English and affiliate faculty in Women’s Studies, University of Maryland.
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Patricia Phillippy is Professor of English Literature and Creative Writing at Kingston University, London. She has published on early modern women’s writing and gender in English and comparative literature and culture. Her current research studies material texts and monumental writing in post-Reformation England.
Jaime Goodrich is Assistant Professor of English at Wayne State University. Her articles on early modern Englishwomen’s translations have appeared in Sixteenth Century Journal, English Literary Renaissance, and ANQ.