Date of Award

8-2007

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Major

English

Major Professor

D. Allen Carroll

Committee Members

Paul Barrette, Heather Hirschfeld, Robert Stillman

Abstract

E. C.’s Emaricdulfe (1595; STC2 4268) is a collection of forty English sonnets introduced by a brief dedicatory epistle addressed “to my very good friends, John Zouch and Edward Fitton, Esquiers.” The book was printed by Joan Orwin for bookseller Matthew Law. Two copies of the original text survive, one in the Huntington Library, the other in the Folger Shakespeare Library. In both subject matter and poetic aspiration, the collection answers to the conventions of the sonnet sequence, a genre that captivated English poets great and small during the last decades of the sixteenth century. The subject of E. C.’s poetic desire is, as it should be, his love for a young woman. The collection offers conventional modes of praise for Emaricdulfe, along with typical laments about the speaker’s failures to win her love. One deviation from the expected is E. C.’s description of a dream vision. This brief sequence replays the conventional imagery of love as hunt scene, but it also presents a rather troubling vision that, it seems, describes the death of Emaricdulfe’s young child, surely unfamiliar subject matter for the genre.

The collection, perhaps deservedly so, has generated little critical response during its history. No complete scholarly edition exists. This dissertation presents some of the basic materials upon which such an edition can be built. Here is a clear, correct, readable text, accompanied by a full commentary that situates the text and explains difficult facets of that text and is preceded by an introduction that considers, to varying degrees, features particular to this text that, in general, should be of assistance for someone reading it for the first time.

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