Isabella Whitney's Nosegay and the smell of women's writing

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1 Scopus citations


Isabella Whitney was the first woman to publish secular verse in English, and her second volume of poetry, A Sweet Nosegay (1573), deploys smell to launch a moral critique of the economic forces and cultural values that leave a woman writer without the material means to support herself. Utilizing smell first to mark her liminal emergence as an author, she subverts traditional associations of smell with women and domestic work and then goes on to emphasize both the material presence of her embodied self as well the dangers that surround her, ultimately forecasting the smell of her decaying corpse. She manipulates cultural associations with olfaction to fashion herself as a woman writer and to lament the fact that she cannot support herself through her labor.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)131-143
Number of pages13
JournalSenses and Society
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2010


  • Isabella Whitney
  • Materiality
  • Renaissance
  • Smell
  • Women's writing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • Communication


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