Dark Venus

The adventures of Alexander Cooke, a woman disguising herself as a boy actor in Elizabethan England, are woven together with those of her friend Amelia Bassano Lanyer, the presumed Dark Lady of Shakespeare’s sonnets in this novel of theatre, poetry, and love set during a volatile and dangerous era. 

Closing of the press responsible for the first edition of Dark Venus necessitated this new and revised edition. The underlying theme remains: How can women of courage and poetic gifts express their true selves in a time when the prescribed role for females is obedience, chastity, and silence and the woman’s role in poetry is as a man’s object and his muse? Amelia Bassano Lanyer finds her poetic voice and Sander Cooke develops her theatrical power against the odds.

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