Ingram 2006

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Ingram, Jill Phillips. Idioms of Self-Interest: Credit, Identity, and Property in English Renaissance Literature. New York: Routledge, 2006.
"economic historians and literary critics continue to define non-political, private interest as symptomatic of extreme individualism that was an anti-social force through the mid-seventeenth century. This book elucidates the fallacy of that particular argument." (3)

The Genre of Self-Interest in the Poetry of Isabella Whitney and Aemilia Lanyer (Chapter 4)

"By using 'public' genres to express private concerns both poets offer a publica nd communal authority for their private financial distress." (73)

not using female legacy tradition (as argued in Wall 1993 so much as the mock-testament; "she is both dramatizing the ambitious female writer's plight as an 'outsider', and calling for the opening of credit networks to the city's marginalized figures" (74)

as a mock-testament, it belongs to the genre of the "worthless bequest," "a form with its origins in the Menippean confession" (83)

  • "The genre reveals the impotence of the lower orders, the poor, and the drunken; such parody hinges on the notion of the inherent social power vested in a legal document such as the last will." (84)
  • use of list reduces life to the accumulation of material goods -- "scoffing at upper-class wealth while implicitly desiring riches to bestow" (85)
"The speaker sees the economic system in London through the lens of risk, a risk that drives many into debt. These debts are desirable on the one hand because they represent economic and social connections, but dangerous on the other when unpayable. It is this double bind, this economic paradox to which she addresses her poem. Thus she's harnessing a familiar satiric genre to represent the conflicting claims [86] of the credit crunch upon the female author. As one of many attempting to navigate her way through the terms of credit in the marketplace, Whitney registers the urgency of achieving these terms in one's favor, a factor newly pervasive for many of London's workers." She simultaneously implicates London's competitive market workings and her own individual dilemma. In doing so, however, she asserts the social capital of indebtedness across the strata of London's classes." (85-6)

by drawing on a genre that placed her alongside Jyl of Braintfords Testament (1535), in which Jyl bequeaths her fart, Whitney avoids being labeled an unruly woman for publishing (86)

her voice is more public than private -- she moves from outsider status to dying exile

"Whitney highlights the aspcts of a deteriorating London marketplace in terms of failed actos when crucial credit relationships are neglected." (90)