“Certaine Amorous Sonnets, Betweene Venus and Adonis”: fictive acts of writing in The Passionate Pilgrime of 1612
Reid, Lindsay Ann
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Lindsay Ann Reid, “Certaine Amorous Sonnets, Betweene Venus and Adonis”: fictive acts of writing in The Passionate Pilgrime of 1612, Études Épistémè URL : http://episteme.revues.org/419 ; DOI : 10.4000/episteme.419
In c. 1599, the London stationer William Jaggard produced two editions of The Passionate Pilgrime, a collection of twenty poems best known for its inclusion of five sonnets by William Shakespeare. Having been lengthened to include a total of twenty-nine poems, a third edition of this printed miscellany was released by Jaggard just over a decade later in 1612. This article centers around Jaggard s decision to repackage the expanded contents of the 1612 Passionate Pilgrime with a title page that not only intriguingly advertises the collection s inclusion of Certaine Amorous Sonnets, betweene Venus and Adonis, but also draws particular attention to a newly appended pair of Loue-Epistles purportedly written by the mythological figures Paris and Helen. Taking as my particular focus the acts of writing described on The Passionate Pilgrime s 1612 title page, I contend that these putative acts provide audiences with a fictitious etiology of the miscellany s origins. Like so many other early printed miscellanies, Jaggard s volume exploits the perceived exclusivity of scribal coterie poetry; rather than positing The Passionate Pilgrime s contents as texts commemorating actual courtly occasions between historical Tudor or Stuart elites (as earlier printed anthologies such as Richard Tottel s Songes and Sonettes often had), however, Jaggard s title page draws upon established generic conventions as well as the literary precedent provided by Ovid s Heroides to reimagine acts of literary composition transpiring within a well-known mythological story-world.