Mary Sidney Criticism - Essay

Frances Berkeley Young (essay date 1912)

(Literary Criticism (1400-1800))

SOURCE: "Lady Pembroke as Editor, Translator, and Author," in Mary Sidney: Countess of Pembroke, Long Acre, 1912, pp. 123-49.

[In the following excerpt, Young conducts a brief review of both Sidney's career and the scholarship that had unearthed her manuscripts and significance by the early twentieth century.]

Any survey of Lady Pembroke's literary work should naturally begin with her brother's novel, 'Arcadia,' and her connection with that work. The permanent form in which that famous romance has come down to us is a form determined in great part by Lady Pembroke, to whom the book itself is dedicated. As is well known, she—after her brother's death—acted as editor...

(The entire section is 5849 words.)

G. F. Waller (essay date 1977)

(Literary Criticism (1400-1800))

SOURCE: "Introduction: The Life and Milieu of Mary Sidney, Countess of Pembroke," in Elizabethan & Renaissance Studies, Institut fur Englische Sprache und Literatur Universitat Salzburg, 1977, pp. 1-65.

[In the following introduction to his edition of Sidney's poetry, Waller presents an extensive survey of Sidney's work with a short biography. His careful attention to each of her major works and extant manuscripts includes speculations about the history of each and about her growth as a poet.]

The Life and Milieu of Mary Sidney, Countess of Pembroke

underneath this sable herse
Lies the subject of all verse:

(The entire section is 16311 words.)

Pearl Hogrefe (essay date 1977)

(Literary Criticism (1400-1800))

SOURCE: "Mary Sidney Herbert: Countess of Pembroke," in Women of Action in Tudor England: Nine Biographical Sketches, Iowa State University Press, 1977, pp. 103-35.

[In the excerpt that follows, Hogrefe reconstructs Sidney's centrality as a patron in the world of Elizabethan letters by examining a selection of the many dedications that leading writers of the day composed for her.]

Mary Sidney Herbert was perhaps the most self-effacing of the [prominent women in Tudor England]. She devoted her energy to helping others; her influence did not have breadth, but within her area of influence she was unusually effective. She was not actively concerned with extravagant...

(The entire section is 8705 words.)

Beth Wynne Fisken (essay date 1985)

(Literary Criticism (1400-1800))

SOURCE: "Mary Sidney's Psalmes: Education and Wisdom," in Silent But for the Word: Tudor Women as Patrons, Translators, and Writers of Religious Works, edited by Margaret Patterson Hannay, The Kent State University Press, 1985, pp. 166-83.

[In the following in-depth study of Sidney's Psalms, Fisken argues that, as a translator Sidney both respected the conventions of her era, which demanded self-effacement, and exceeded them with her poetic innovation.]

Mary Sidney's verse translations of the Psalms began as an education in how to write poetry and ended in a search for wisdom. Through close work with her brother Philip's translations as well as painstaking revision of...

(The entire section is 6524 words.)

Beth Wynne Fisken (essay date 1990)

(Literary Criticism (1400-1800))

SOURCE: "To the Angell Spirit… Mary Sidney's Entry into the World of Words," in The Renaissance Englishwoman in Print: Counterbalancing the Canon, edited by Anne M. Haselkorn and Betty S. Travitsky, The University of Massachusetts Press, 1990, pp. 263-75.

[In the following essay, Fisken discerns a strain of subversiveness in "To the Angell Spirit, " which she describes as "the disjunction between Mary Sidney's internalized definitions of her role as a woman and her burgeoning ambition as a writer. "]

"To the Angell spirit …" is one of just four known original poems by Mary Sidney.1 The bulk of her writing fell within the parameters of translation and...

(The entire section is 4743 words.)