‘Lett me not Pyne for Poverty’

Lisa J. Schnell

in The Oxford Handbook of the Elegy

Published in print April 2010 | ISBN: 9780199228133
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks of Literature

 ‘Lett me not Pyne for Poverty’

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This article looks at mourning children in early modern England. It also builds on Patricia Phillipy's argument in particular as it directs attention to the ways in which the very real grief of two early modern women in particular — Mary Carey and Anne de Vere — performs a sad but determined kind of cultural labour in the context of shared Protestant and patriarchal ideas about maternity and the gendered issues of property that underwrite many of those same ideas. Protestant theology plays a large part in the institutionalization and justification of coverture by both giving and taking away with the same hand. The article closely investigates the elegiac verse of two representational women poets of the period — Dorothy Leigh and Elizabeth Jocelin. The maternal elegies examined reveal that not all grieving mothers were willing to submit to the prescriptive work of mourning that Protestantism and patriarchy demanded.

Keywords: maternal elegy; mourning children; modern England; Patricia Phillipy; grief; Mary Carey; Anne de Vere; protestant theology; Dorothy Leigh; Elizabeth Jocelin

Article.  8511 words. 

Subjects: Literature ; Literary Studies (1500 to 1800) ; Literary Studies (Poetry and Poets)

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