Aemilia Lanyer’s Salve Deus Rex Judaeorum: Protofeminism, Piety, or Transcendence?

Connie Braun

Abstract


Aemilia Lanyer continues to be a controversial figure in the early modern tradition. Lanyer was not an aristocrat; her connections to the court included a sexual liaison with Queen Elizabeth’s cousin and her dedication in Salve Deus Rex Judaeorum (1611) was to women of nobility. Written in the conventions of religious poetry, her work is a defense of Eve in the voice of Pilate’s wife. At times the voices of the speaker and the poet appear to be intertwined in a subversion of the misogynist view of Eve’s actions, contesting contemporary patriarchal egemony. However, it is also arguable that despite her less than “virtuous” background and in the face of her possible financialor feminist ambitions, the Christian influences evident in her poetry suggest that Lanyer was a spiritually motivated woman whose work offers a hermeneutic for authentic Christian spirituality.

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ISSN (Print): 1705-2947
ISSN (Online): 1712-5634