“And Thus Leave Off”: Reevaluating Mary Wroth’s Folger Manuscript, V.a.104

Heather DubrowUniversity of Wisconsin, Madison
Vol. 22, No. 2 (Fall 2003), 273-291

This essay takes up questions regarding the manuscript description and evaluation of Mary Wroth’s Pamphilia to Amphilanthus, leading to new findings about the textual background and, more generally, to new proddings of feminists to greater scrupulousness in analysis and greater willingness to entertain inconclusiveness about manuscript markings. The essay builds upon and revises the well-regarded prior textual work of Josephine A. Roberts by commenting on a feature not discussed by her—the slashed (or barred) S (or French fermesse). The essay analyzes Wroth’s use of the slashed S to show that the poet revised Pamphilia to Amphilanthus more drastically than has previously been believed. Wroth’s signature closural marker is not merely an ending but also an invitation to open or reopen many questions. This essay demonstrates how much we might learn from returning to an author’s manuscripts, no matter how authoritatively described by previous critics.

Mary Wollstonecraft Sojourner Truth Margaret Atwood Abigail Adams Amy Tan H.D. Simone de Beauvoir Zora Neale Hurston Frances Burney Virginia Woolf

"The white saxifrage with the indented leafe is moste commended for the breakinge of the Stone."

— Turner, Herbal, III, 68 [1568]