chapter  10
19 Pages

A mirrored hall of fame

Reading Mary Hays reading Tullia d’Aragona
WithElizabeth Pallitto

Fame is an elusive, glittering thing that operates through reflection and projection. Ann Rosalind Jones employs this metaphor to demonstrate how, in the 1547 Rime of Tullia d'Aragona, her 'potential rivals are transformed into flattering mirrors for each other'. In this chapter, the author borrows the mirror image to describe what Mary Hays accomplishes for Tullia d'Aragona in her entry on this writer in Female Biography. Although Tullia d'Aragona's name did not confer social advantage, she established herself early on the basis of her musical and literary talent. Her knowledge of Latin, her background in classical philosophy and her talent for poetry earned respect among her contemporaries. For a woman, however, literary success also depended upon one's connections and one's self-presentation. One's appearance was part of one's currency: to be at court was to be seen. L'Erodiade, a 1537 portrait by Moretto da Brescia, has been identified as Tullia d'Aragona.