Lady Mary Wroth

Standard Name: Wroth, Lady Mary
Birth Name: Mary Sidney
Styled: Lady Mary Sidney
Married Name: Lady Mary Wroth
LMW achieved two firsts with a single publication in 1621: the first full-length fiction (a prose romance) to be written in English by a woman and the first sonnet sequence in English by a woman (discounting the less than certain ascription of a sonnet sequence based on Psalm 51 to Anne Locke ). Outside this landmark publication, she is known to have written other poems, a play, and surviving letters.
Full-length portrait of Lady Mary Wroth attributed to John de Critz the elder, c. 1620. She stands holding a theorbo that reaches to her shoulder, in a picture with striking touches of red. Wroth's stiff, embroidered gown and large, transparent ruff are pale; her petticoat and belt are red, and her arms, shoulders, and bust are picked out with red bows. She rests an arm of a red sofa, with red curtains behind.
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Connections Sort descending Author name Excerpt
death Mary Sidney Herbert, Countess of Pembroke
She is buried in the choir of Salisbury Cathedral, under the steps to the high altar.
Her niece and god-daughter Lady Mary Wroth , had published her Urania just two months earlier, but her...
Dedications Hannah Wolley
This has three dedications: to Anne Wroth (daughter of Anne, Lady Maynard ), to Wroth's daughter Mary , and to To all Ladyes and Gentlewomen in general, who love the Art of Preserving and Cookery...
Family and Intimate relationships Mary Sidney Herbert, Countess of Pembroke
Her niece Lady Mary Wroth , an important writer, has only recently been accorded the fame she merits.
Family and Intimate relationships Mary Sidney Herbert, Countess of Pembroke
Her eldest child, William , was later the lover of her niece Lady Mary Wroth .
Family and Intimate relationships Dorothy Sidney, Countess of Sunderland
The poet Lady Mary Wroth was an aunt of DSCS (whose father was Wroth's younger brother). She was probably writing her romance Urania about the time that Dorothy was born.
Family and Intimate relationships Henrietta Euphemia Tindal
HET extensively researched her own genealogy. Among the families from which she established that she was the sole representative
Tindal, Henrietta Euphemia. Rhymes and Legends. Richard Bentley and Son, 1879.
was that of the husband of the poet Lady Mary Wroth (who, however, herself left...
Family and Intimate relationships W. H. Auden
Nicholas Jenkins of Stanford University formerly maintained on his website at a section called W. H. Auden. Family Ghosts, designed to show how Auden's family, despite his claims to ordinariness, sprang from a...
Friends, Associates Frances Neville, Baroness Abergavenny
Her family networks, too, were Protestant. Her parents were close friends and country neighbours of Katherine Brandon Willoughby, Duchess of Suffolk (letter-writer, patron of women writers, friend and associate of Katherine Parr ). In 1563...
names Mary Sidney Herbert, Countess of Pembroke
There is no writer whose names are more problematic. For centuries she was traditionally known as the Countess of Pembroke (perhaps because this full form appears in the title of her brother's Arcadia) instead...
Occupation Lady Anne Clifford
LAC performed (with Lady Mary Wroth ) in Ben Jonson 's Masque of Beauty.
Katherine Acheson , editor of LAC 's early diaries, dates this performance 1609.
Matthew, Henry Colin Gray, Brian Harrison, and Lawrence Goldman, editors. Oxford Dictionary of National Biography.
under Ben Jonson
Spence, Richard T. Lady Anne Clifford, Countess of Dorset, Pembroke and Montgomery. Sutton Publishing, 1997.
Reception Mary Oxlie
This work listed MO as one of its Women among the moderns eminent for poetry. Phillips, nephew and pupil of John Milton , seems quite interested in the existence of women poets. Others in his...
Textual Features Judith Man
JM writes well, both in her text itself and in her preface. She expresses the modesty and humility which were de rigueur for a female author at this date, saying that those in authority over...
Textual Features Delarivier Manley
The text belongs to a genre well-known in France as the chronique scandaleuse, and popularised in England through the writings of Madame d'Aulnoy (who had been much translated, and had already influenced DM ). It...
Textual Features Augusta Webster
In these unsentimental poems AW revises the conventions of the sonnet sequence in rather the way that Lady Mary Wroth had done in 1621. She focuses on a love-object, here the daughter, Loverlike to me...
Textual Features Margaret Cavendish
Her address to her husband rejoices that he has never bidden her to stop writing and work (that is do needlework) instead. In this connection she quotes from Lord Denny 's attempt to silence Lady Mary Wroth


23 January 1590
Edmund Spenser dated (using the old-style reckoning of 1589) his letter to Sir Walter Raleghexpounding his whole intention in the first three books of The Faerie Queene, which was published soon afterwards.
November 1616
Ben Jonson published his Works, including (unconventionally) nine plays, as well as masques and two poetry collections.