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By Elizabeth Heale

The appearance of fairly reasonable versions within the mid-16th century produced an explosion of verse, a lot of which represented the 1st individual speaker as a model of the writer. This e-book examines ways that writers, usually looking development of their careers, harnessed verse for self-promotional reasons. Texts studied contain a manuscript autobiography through Thomas Whythorne, revealed verse via a girl, Isabella Whitney, shuttle and struggle narratives, in addition to canonical texts by way of Spenser, Sidney, and Shakespeare.

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Extra info for Autobiography and Authorship in Renaissance Verse (Early Modern Literature in History)

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But seems to refer not simply to that item but to the whole volume. W. T. ‘wherin he had collected divers discourses and verses, invented uppon sundrie occasions, by sundrie gentlemen’ (pp. 141–2). W. has copied the manuscript and taken it to the printer, and is now having it printed under the title ‘A hundreth sundrie Flowers’, only pausing to ‘cover all our names’ to protect the contributors’ privacy. He justifies his act by imagining the amusement and profit the book will give its readers who will ‘sit and smile at the fond devises of such as have enchayned them selves in the golden fetters of fantasie, and having bewrayed them selves to the whole world, do yet conjecture that they walke unseene in a net’ (p.

If it is all jesting performance, we cannot be sure there is any ‘sad earnest’, whether the rhetorical style is amorous, aphoristic or pious. Among the poems ‘Gascoignes Recantation’ lists as part of Gascoigne’s personal narrative of passionate error is the ‘soong, I Bathe in Blisse, amidde my wearie Bale’. That song is in fact printed in A Hundreth, but not as part of Gascoigne’s purportedly autobiographical sequence. Instead it appears as ‘A straunge passion of another Author’ (p. 243) among the anonymous ‘Devises of Sundrie Gentlemen’.

Among the poems ‘Gascoignes Recantation’ lists as part of Gascoigne’s personal narrative of passionate error is the ‘soong, I Bathe in Blisse, amidde my wearie Bale’. That song is in fact printed in A Hundreth, but not as part of Gascoigne’s purportedly autobiographical sequence. Instead it appears as ‘A straunge passion of another Author’ (p. 243) among the anonymous ‘Devises of Sundrie Gentlemen’. 55 Its displacement in the 1573 volume may be an accident, but it exposes the instability of the Miscellanies and the well-formed gentleman 27 verse Gascoigne is using to present himself to the public as, at least ostensibly, a stable, trustworthy, and frank individual.

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