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Aemilia Lanyer’s Salve Deus Rex Judaeorum and the Production of Possibility

From: Studies in Philology
Volume 109, Number 3, Spring 2012
pp. 290-310 | 10.1353/sip.2012.0025



This article examines the ways in which terms define or fail to define the shifting identities of speakers and addressees throughout the dedications and titular poem of Aemilia Lanyer’s Salve Deus Rex Judaeorum (1611). Such an examination of the text yields implications for scholarship that has focused on Lanyer’s problematic relationship to patronage and explored her efforts to construct a poetic and priestly lineage among women. The article analyzes Lanyer’s appeals to potential patrons, including Mary Sidney, Arbella Stuart, Princess Elizabeth, and Anne Clifford. The analysis focuses on the peculiar polyvocality at work within Lanyer’s volume, especially with regards to the linguistic operations of deixis across her poetic project. This article suggests that Salve Deus Rex Judaeorum depicts possible, alternate versions of the author’s dedicatees that constitute a valued object for exchange and enable stronger claims of a kinship lineage among women than has previously been considered.

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