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Middleton, Elizabeth


Subject Literature » Renaissance Literature

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405194495.2012.x


Elizabeth Middleton (b.1619) was once believed to be a poet of devotional verse. Even though that claim has been convincingly challenged, Middleton's involvement with religious writings is important in that it offers an insight into patronage and literary circulation by women in England during the seventeenth century. The authorship of a 1637 manuscript poem titled ‘The death and passion of our Lord Jesus Christ, as it was acted by the bloodye Jewes, and registred by the blessed evangelists’ was once attributed to one Elizabeth Middleton (Bodleian Library, MS Don. e. 17). The poem is included in a 27-page manuscript between two other unattributed works: the Calvinist prose treatise ‘A soveraigne antidote against dispayre’, and an excerpt from William Austin's poem ‘Ecce homo’. ‘The death and passion’ is introduced by a dedication to Sara Edmondes in the form of an acrostic poem using Lady Edmondes's name, to whom Middleton ‘wished all Health and Happynes’. The ensuing 173-stanza poem in iambic pentameter narrates the events recorded in the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke, paying particular attention to the female figures in the narrative. Recent scholarship by Elizabeth Clarke (1995) , and Victoria Burke and Sarah Ross (2001) demonstrates that the poem attributed to Middleton is actually a compilation of John Bullokar's A true description of the passion of our saviour Jesus ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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