Panofsky 1982

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Panofsky, Richard J., ed. The Floures of Philosophie (1572) by Hugh Platt and A Sweet Nosgay (1573) and the Copy of a Letter (1567) by Isabella Whitney. Delmar, New York: Scholars' Facsimiles & Reprints, 1982.


Plat's Floures -- Senecan proverbs, "derives from the complex manuscript tradition of the Proverbia Senecae, which inclues material from Publilius Syrus the mime, St. Marten of Braga, and such pseudo-SEnecan works as the Liber de moribus" (vii) -- see J. L. Heller, Classical Weekly 36 (1942-3): 151-2.

Whitney follows his first 97 sentences closely; then begins to group related sayings together (see table on x)

"Plat's allegory of these customs in part teases the customer to buy his book and in part asserts for the reader a moral exercise. His amorous readers will stumble, here and there, across anti-love sententiae and so will make unexpected discovery of truths. The miscellaneous ordering creates such opportunities: as the readers imitate bees in tasting now this and now that particular flower, they are prepared for the sudden personal application of a truism or an example. They are also asked to play a game, to spend time in the profitable exercise of perception and discovery. Thus Plat's and other collections of moral sentences can claim at least indirect kinship with such game-books as The Book of Fortune and Wit's labyrinth, or, the exercise of idleness." (xi)
"The ideas and literary techniques in A Sweet Nosegay are by no means original. Its style of exaggerated complaint, with stock literary and Biblical references and a vocabulary of emotional extremes, is familiar to all readers of middle-Elizabethan poetry. The book is original, rather, in its application of life to literary convention and in its energetic fortune." (xiii)

1570s, poets trying out different forms of narrative sequencing -- Turberville Epitaphs (1567), Gascoigne's Hundreth sundry flowers (1573), The Rock of Regard (1576), Nicholas Breton's Small Handful of Fragrant Flowers (1575)

"CAn Whitney be made out t be an Elizabethan feminist? ... In all, my sense is that Whitney wished to claim no special identity as a woman author, but that her sex was one fact among others in this very personal work." (xix)

Jones also printed Symon's "A pleasnt Poesie" (xx)