Ros Smith on Early Modern Women and the Poetry of Complaint

Join us for the next CuSPP Seminar (taking place via zoom)

Thursday 26 August, 4.30 – 6pm (see CuSPP email or contact for zoom link).

Early modern women and the poetry of complaint: an introduction

This paper considers how early modern women poets engaged with the mode of complaint, exploring the findings from a three-year collaborative project that has uncovered over 500 complaint poems by early modern women writers, translators, compilers and transcribers. Discussion will consider how women’s poetic complaints might be read across multiple textual, material, and performance contexts; how these poems make us reassess questions of form, agency and gender in the period; and what this research tells us about the mode of complaint more broadly.

Rosalind Smith is the newly appointed Chair of English at the Australian National University. She specialises in early modern women’s writing, particularly the intersection of gender, politics, history and form, and her books include Sonnets and the English Woman Writer, 1560-1621: The Politics of Absence (2005), Material Cultures of Early Modern Women’s Writing (with Trisha Pender) and Early Modern Women’s Complaint: Gender, Form and Politics (with Sarah Ross). Her current projects include an Australian Research Council future fellowship on Marginalia and the Early Modern Woman Writer, a Linkage grant with State Library Victoria on the recent Emmerson bequest of over 5000 early modern books and manuscripts, and her role as general editor of the Palgrave Encyclopedia of Early Modern Women’s Writing, with over 500 entries totalling 1.5 million words.

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