Material texts: women’s paperwork in early modern England and Mary Wroth’s Urania

Anna Christina Reynolds

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review


The last two decades have seen a turn towards material histories of texts and embodied acts of reading. Cultural representations of women’s encounters with books and the traces left behind by female readers have been central to our understanding of the material history of reading, as well as the recent turn away from texts contained within books to early modern textual culture more broadly. This chapter begins with an act of critical imagining, overviewing textual encounters elite, middling, and lower status women may have experienced. It attends to paper’s centrality to the literary negotiations of Lady Mary Wroth’s Urania. Absent from the historical record because of their ephemerality and apparent triviality, Urania reveals connections between household sheets and the pages of Wroth’s romance. The ways in which paper might be handled, preserved, and destroyed, proves to be vital in how Wroth positions herself in relation to existing literary forms and traditions.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Oxford handbook of early modern women’s writing in English, 1540-1700
EditorsDanielle Clarke, Sarah C.E. Ross, Elizabeth Scott-Baumann
Place of PublicationOxford
PublisherOxford University Press
Number of pages11
ISBN (Electronic)9780191892653
ISBN (Print)9780198860631
Publication statusPublished - 14 Oct 2022


  • Lady Mary Wroth
  • Paper
  • Letters
  • Circulation
  • Miscellanies
  • Embroidery
  • Materiality
  • Textuality
  • New materialism
  • New formalism


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