Chapter Five introduces cross-racial female-female affection, which Wroth represents in the bond between Pamphilia
and the personification of Night.
It is often included in the discussions of the growing number of critics who have pushed Wroth towards canonical status, and who have expounded the way that Pamphilia
(or Wroth through her alter ego) posits a specifically female interiority to set against the superficial pleasures of court pursuits.
to Amphilanthus is a sonnet sequence that Wroth appended to her 1621 prose romance The Countesse of Mountgomeries Urania, becoming the first women writer in English to publish in either genre.
Jonathan Gibson recently proposed Wroth as a contender for William Shakespeare's "Dark Lady" (Times Literary Supplement, August 13, 2004, 12-13) based on similarities in style and content between Shakespeare's Sonnets and Wroth's Pamphilia
to Amphilanthus (two sonnet sequences addressed to fickle young men), which are both followed by poetic lovers' complaints (Shakespeare's A Lover's Complaint and Wroth's "A sheapherd who noe care did take").
For each of the texts subjected to minute examination (a small selection of Pembroke's Psalmes, Wroth's 'A Crowne of Sonnets' from Pamphilia
to Amphilanthus, and a few stanzas from Lanyer's Salve Deus Rex Judaeorum), she makes a very strong case for the presence of such rhetorical tropes as 'ploce' (repetition), 'parison' (balance), and 'antimetabole'.
For more details, see Michael Sharpio, "Lady Mary Wroth Describes a 'Boy Actress,' " Medieval and Renaissance Drama in England 4 (1989) 187-94 and Anita Hagerman, " 'But Worth pretends': Discovering Jonsonian Masque in Lady Mary Wroth's Pamphilia
and Amphilantus," Early Modern Literary Studies 6.
Mews contemporary and political interest in re-visioning traditional forms such as the sonnet sequence makes her Twenty-One Love Poems (1976,1978) (1) a particularly apt lens through which to read the first such sequence to be written by an English-speaking woman: Lady Mary Wroth's Pamphilia
to Amphilanthus, published in 1621.
Mary Sidney's niece, Mary (Sidney) Wroth, Countess of Montgomery, is credited with many women's "firsts" -- first sonnet sequence in English (Pamphilia
to Amphilanthus, 1621), first published work of fiction by an Englishwoman (The Countess of Mountgomeries Urania, also 1621), and one of the first plays by an Englishwoman (Love's Victory, not printed until 1988!).
Phaedria sends as a gift an old slave-woman and an equally old eunuch, while Thraso sends as a gift the beautiful serving maid Pamphilia
. The younger brother of Phaedria falls in love with Pamphilia
upon seeing her and substitutes himself for the old eunuch, thus gaining entrance into Thais' establishment, where he carries out his pursuit of Pamphilia
Aided by Susan Benson's powerful unit set, a stage-wide flight of steps, Graham filled ancient Thessaly with marketplace life and secured from mezzo-soprano Judith Forst a scene-stealing pair of characterizations as both the sorceress Pamphilia
and the bandit mother Antiope.
One sonnet, number 69 of her love-sonnet sequence Pamphilia
to Amphilanthus, has verbal similarities to Jonson's 'To the World'.
We have in her heroine Pamphilia
the figure of an intelligent and discriminating reader of fiction, and in the experiences of her other female characters a powerful diversity of responses to the pressures on women to conform to the patriarchal norms of early seventeenth-century society.
Publication of Wroth's Urania includes sonnet cycle Pamphilia
Arnold's on a newly-discovered holograph letter (University of Kansas, Kenneth Spencer Research Library, MS Crawford 177) and Susan Lauffer O'Hara's on the 'stage rubrics' in Wroth's Folger manuscript of Pamphilia
to Amphilanthus, advance knowledge of this writer.