"Wonder not, princely Gloster, at the notice this paper brings you": Women, Writing, and Politics in Rowe's Jane Shore


Jones DeRitter


In lieu of an abstract, the first paragraph of the essay follows:

The title character of Nicholas Rowe's Tragedy of Jane Shore is a fifteenth-century Englishwoman renowned in her own time as both the "meriest mistresse" of King Edward IV and a remarkably effective advocate for the poor. Her fame lasted from the sixteenth to the late nineteenth century; during this time her story was shaped and reshaped in a wide range of literary and sub-literary productions-street ballads, courtly love poetry, historical chronicles, and history plays. Although many writers before and after Rowe were fascinated by the possibility that Jane Shore could have been both a cheerful sinner and a resourceful defender of the weak, Rowe's heroine displays little interest in the downtrodden and even less interest in merriment. Virtually paralyzed by the guilt she feels over what the playwright presents as the forced betrayal of her marriage vows, the eighteenth-century Jane Shore represents a significant departure from the conventional treatments of the figure.

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