Peer-Reviewed Journal Details
Mandatory Fields
Lindsay Ann Reid
The Seventeenth Century
Diana, Dido, and The Fair Maid of Dunsmore: Classical Precursors, Common Tunes, and the Question of Consent in Seventeenth-Century Balladry
WOS: 1 ()
Optional Fields
ballads; music; Dido; Richard Jones; rape; consent; Lucrece; Diana; mythology; classical reception; early modern; seventeenth century
The tragedy of Isabel of Dunsmore—an English shepherd’s daughter who commits suicide after being impregnated by a social superior—is recounted in two similar, yet lyrically distinct seventeenth-century ballads: “The Lamentable Song of the Lord Wigmoore Gouernor of Warwicke Castle and the Fayre Maid of Dunsmoore” and “The Fair Maid of Dunsmore’s Lamentation Occasioned by Lord Wigmore Once Governour of Warwick-Castle.” What is remarkable about these two ballads is that, despite commonalities in plot and even pacing, they offer divergent interpretations of a shared series of narrative events. What is more, both ballads do so by suggestively juxtaposing Isabel’s story both textually and musically with varying mythological precursors: Lucrece, Diana, Callisto, and Dido. This essay seeks to untangle how these classically inspired intertexts serve to characterise Isabel and Wigmore’s relationship in each ballad, particularly when it comes to the fraught issue of female sexual consent.
Grant Details
Publication Themes
Humanities in Context