Lanier (Lanyer), Emilia (Aemelia)

Lanier (Lanyer), Emilia (Aemelia)
(1569-1645)
   Born in London, the daughter of Giovanni Baptista Bassano. The family were Italian Jewish émigrés from Venice and musicians and instrument-makers at Edward VI's court in 1531. Emilia was brought up by the dowager Countess of Kent and was for several years the mistress of Queen Elizabeth's cousin, Henry Cary, Lord Hunsdon. When she became pregnant in 1592, she married court musician Alfonso Lanyer. Lord Hunsdon was the patron of William Shakespeare's theatre company and there was speculation that Emilia was the subject of Shakespeare's Dark Lady, the woman to whom Shakespeare composed a portion of his sonnets. Lanier died in London and was buried in St. James's, Clerkenwell, London. She has every right to claim the status of first English female professional writer. Salve Deus Rex Judaeorum (Eve's Apolog y in Defense of Women) was published in 1611 (see Behn, Aphra, whose first play was published in 1670). The poem is prefaced by eleven dedicatory works, all to women. The title poem on Christ's passion is narrated entirely from the point of view of women.
   Sources: Dictionary of National Biography. Electronic Edition 1.1. Oxford University Press, 1997. Biography of Aemilia Lanyer: Sunshine for Women (http://www.pinn.net/Lanier{ (Lanyer), Emilia{ (Aemelia)sunshine/march99/lanyer2.html). Kissing the Rod: An Anthology of Seventeenth-Century Women's Verse. Germaine Greer, Susan Hastings and Jeslyn Medo, eds. Farrar Straus Giroux, 1988. Library of Congress Citations (www.mala.bc.ca/Lanier{ (Lanyer), Emilia{ (Aemelia)mcneil/cit/citlclanyer1.htm). Nationmaster.com (http://www.nationmaster.com/encyclopedia/Emilia-Lanier). The Columbia Granger's Index to Poetry. 11th ed. The Columbia Granger's World of Poetry, Columbia University Press, 2005 (http://www.columbiagrangers.org). The New Oxford Book of Seventeenth Century Verse. Alastair Fowler, ed. Oxford University Press, 2004. The Norton Anthology of Literature by Women: The Tradition in English. Sandra M. Gilbert and Susan Guber, eds. W.W. Norton, 1985. The Oxford Companion to English Literature. 6th edition. Margaret Drabble, ed. Oxford University Press, 2000. The Poems of Aemilia Lanyer, Salve Deus Rex Judaeorum. Susanne Woods, ed. Oxford University Press, 1993.

British and Irish poets. A biographical dictionary. . 2015.

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