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date: 18 May 2021

Abstract and Keywords

The chapter situates one of the first known printed books of verse by an Englishwoman, Isabella Whitney’s Sweet Nosgay or Pleasant Posye (1573), in relation to one of the watershed legal developments of the sixteenth century, the Statute of Wills (1540), and a case reported by Edmund Plowden in his Commentaries (1571, 1579), Paramour v. Yardley, to establish the political character of the book’s final poem, its ‘Wyl to London.’ In the face of legal developments that supported a culture of ownership, especially in relation to land-holding arrangements, the poem manifests literature’s importance to a countervailing culture of holding things in common.

Keywords: Isabella Whitney, Edmund Plowden, Statute of Wills, Inns of Court, Paramour v. Yardley, ownership, property, occupation, use, commons

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