16 October - The Literary Childhood of Lady Rachel Fane (1613-1680)
Edel Lamb (Queen's University Belfast)
Department of English
Wednesday 16 October 3-4 pm
Room 2.12 O'Rahilly Building
This paper will explore methodological and historical issues for the analysis of Renaissance childhoods via a case study of Lady Rachel Fane (1613-1680). Fane’s girlhood encounters with a range of texts are evidenced through her educational exercises, religious notes, original dramatic texts and poems written in a series of notebooks in the 1620s and 1630s. While much work has been done on her dramatic writing and attended to its revelations about this aristocratic seventeenth-century girl’s representation of childhood experience, this paper will read her drama alongside her other writing, especially the poems ‘New Yeer’s Gifte to my Lady’ and ‘Upon the Death of my Sister Francke’, as sources for reading her life, her encounters with literature and the creative participation of Renaissance children in literary cultures. It will suggest that literature by children in the period can also constitute a forum for negotiating family relations, mediating emotional experiences, such as loss, and exploring childhood identity.
Dr Edel Lamb is a Senior Lecturer in Renaissance Literature at Queen’s University Belfast. She previously held an Australian Research Council Fellowship at the University of Sydney and an Irish Research Council Fellowship at University College Dublin. She is the author of Performing Childhood in the Early Modern Theatre: The Children’s Playing Companies (1599-1613) (Palgrave 2009) and Reading Children in Early Modern Culture (Palgrave 2018), co-editor of a special issue of Shakespeare on the topic of ‘Shakespeare and Riot, and has published her work on childhood and early modern drama in Renaissance Drama and Ben Jonson Journal.