By Elizabeth Heale

The appearance of particularly reasonable variations 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 booklet examines ways that writers, frequently looking development of their careers, harnessed verse for self-promotional reasons. Texts studied comprise a manuscript autobiography through Thomas Whythorne, revealed verse by means of a girl, Isabella Whitney, shuttle and battle narratives, in addition to canonical texts through Spenser, Sidney, and Shakespeare.

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W. ’, 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.

94) However, in spite of Pyndara’s accusation, Turbervile’s verse does not seriously threaten male self-assurance. After all, the introduction to the sequence has assured us that it is Pyndara who will betray, not Tymetes, however much she may be given the language of moral counsel, and warn women of the falseness of men: If she that reades this rime, be wise as I could wishe, 32 Autobiography and Authorship in Renaissance Verse She should auoyde the bayted hooke that takes the biting fishe. (p.

In this discourse of a feminized courtly world, males who succeed become by definition lady’s men, abandoning a stable male use of language for an unstable female one. 66 The single-author miscellanies thus follow the example of Tottel’s Miscellany, in which the emphasis is on male authors and male points of view. The genre did, however, produce one remarkable female contributor, Isabella Whitney, who published two miscellanies of her own, The Copy of a Letter (1567), and A Sweet Nosgay (1573).

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