Isabella Whitney

(1256 words)
  • Ulrike Tancke (Johannes Gutenberg Universität Mainz )

Isabella Whitney is the first professional female poet in England, and the first woman to publish a collection of original poetry. Though little known and not widely productive, she is an outstanding writer of the early modern period, as her writings mirror the shift towards an individualist, market-driven conception of authorship, and the ambivalent and precarious positions occupied by women writers in this process.

Whitney is one of the few literary active women of the period from a middle class rather than aristocratic background. Little is known of her biography, but there is critical consensus about some facts of her life. Probably born in Cheshire in the late 1540s, she grew up in the Smithfield district of London. Part …

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Tancke, Ulrike. "Isabella Whitney". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 16 April 2007
[, accessed 13 October 2015.]

Articles on Whitney's works

  1. A Sweet Nosegay, or Pleasant Posy: Containing a Hundred and Ten Philosophical Flowers

Related Groups

  1. Renaissance Women's Writing