Abstract: This article explores how Mary Wroth’s Urania is positioned at the intersection of manuscript and print cultures. While part 1 of the romance offers a literary representation of manuscript culture; Wroth, significantly, chose to print her romance. Wroth’s choice reflects her ambivalent relationship with her literary circle and may have allowed her both to critique her coterie audience and to seek an audience who would read her romance for its literary merit rather than to “decipher” it for personal information. Though critics have suggested that part 1 of the Urania offers a largely positive portrayal of a welcoming coterie audience for Pamphilia’s verse, its portrayal of the coterie is much more complicated, particularly because the coterie’s attempts to decipher Pamphilia’s verse push her to create ever-more indecipherable poetry. The article concludes with a discussion of readers’ handwritten endings to the printed Urania , which complicate the relationship between reader and writer, as well as between manuscript and print.
Studies in Philology – University of North Carolina Press
Published: Jul 3, 2014