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Henry Howard the Poet Earl of SurreyA Life$
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W. A. Sessions

Print publication date: 2003

Print ISBN-13: 9780198186250

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198186250.001.0001

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The Countess of Surrey

The Countess of Surrey

(p.200) 7 The Countess of Surrey
Henry Howard the Poet Earl of Surrey

W. A. Sessions

Oxford University Press

In an unexpected turn to his life, the poet Earl of Surrey had a happy marriage at the court of Henry VIII. The aristocratic child he had first met at thirteen and married before he left for France turned out to be the woman who not only bore him five children but also helped to engender his texts, as specific poems reveal. In fact, there is no more alive a portrayal or image of Frances de Vere Howard, the countess, than in Earl of Surrey's texts that describe a faithful relationship between a young woman and a young man. His inherent solipsism, for once, was transformed in texts of love to the countess. This deep affinity of a young woman and man performs, as the poems reveal, Surrey's ultimate solution to the Petrarchan dilemma of Laura and alienation.

Keywords:   Earl of Surrey, marriage, France, poems, Frances de Vere Howard, countess, solipsism, alienation, Francis Petrarch

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