History, Department of
Review of Marshall Grossman, ed., Aemilia Lanyer: Gender, Genre and the Canon, and Frances Teague, Bathsua Makin, Woman of Learning
Date of this Version
Grossman's book is a collection of essays on Lanyer, who was first brought to public attention by A. L. Rowse's problematic identification of her as Shakespeare's "dark lady." Scholarly and popular interest in Lanyer has grown even stronger since Susanne Woods's 1993 edition of her poems for the Brown University Women's Writers Projects, published by Oxford University Press. Grossman's collection brings together a number of the top Renaissance literary1 cultural scholars who work on Lanyer. A number of themes, such as patronage, female community, and depiction of Biblical women, are developed by the different authors and link the essays in the collection together.
Equally valuable is Teague's study of Makin, which also includes an edition of Makin's best known work, An Essay to Revive the Ancient Education of Gentlewomen. This piece demonstrates Makin's own learning and argues that girls as well as boys deserve an education. Makin gives examples of learned women of history and ends her essay by advertising her own school for girls, one she opened when she was in her seventies. Teague's research presents a great deal of new information about Makin's life and places her in the wider context of other early modern women writers, such as Rachel Speght. Teague places Makin's writings as part of the querelle des femmes. Makin's education in modern and classical languages was extraordinary for a woman of her age. Teague has discovered that Makin was not John Pell's sister, as has traditionally been reported, but rather his sister-in-law, the sister to Pell's wife Ithamaria Reginald Pell. Bathsua's father was Henry Reginald, a schoolmaster who had his daughters attend his school.
Published in Renaissance Quarterly, Vol. 52, No. 4 (Winter, 1999), pp. 1193-1195 Copyright © 1999 Renaissance Society of America; published by The University of Chicago Press. Used by permission.