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MediatrixWomen, Politics, and Literary Production in Early Modern England$
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Julie Crawford

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780198712619

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: August 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198712619.001.0001

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“His Factor for our loves”: The Countess of Bedford and John Donne

“His Factor for our loves”: The Countess of Bedford and John Donne

(p.121) 3 “His Factor for our loves”: The Countess of Bedford and John Donne

Julie Crawford

Oxford University Press

In this chapter I argue that John Donne’s verse letters to the Countess of Bedford, perhaps the most influential “Factor” or “mediatrix” in Jacobean England, were part of a politically and religiously charged literary transaction conducted between them, and their shifting and interrelated alliances, during the period between their initial meeting in 1608 and Bedford’s 1627 death. More than mere flattery or ill-concealed appeals for financial support, Donne’s textual exchanges with Bedford are best understood as (highly mediated) forms of co-reading, provocative poetic, theological, and political negotiations in which the matters of difference between them were subject to joint interpretation and scrutiny.

Keywords:   Verse letters, elegies and Holy Sonnets, grace, patronage, Lucy Harrington Russell, Countess of Bedford, John Donne, Henry Goodyer, Puritanism, Twickenam, Cecilia Bulstrode, faction, Elizabeth of Bohemia

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