This essay builds upon work surrounding reception and the figure of the early modern woman writer to examine textual instances in which women’s writing has been “found” or manufactured: where writing falsely or tenuously attributed to historical women was circulated under their signatures as their voice. These fictions of production circulated as prosopopoeiae within women’s lifetimes alongside writers’ own scribal and print textual productions, as well as in the centuries following their deaths in the service of editorial, antiquarian, and historical projects. The complexity of naming and attribution in the texts discussed suggests that any distinct separation of speaker and author fails to recognize the centrality of prosopopoeiae to the rhetorical formations underwriting conceptions of the early modern woman writer. The essay newly argues for prosopopoeia as a generative figure of speech that enabled rather than restricted formations of the English woman writer and her participation in literary history.

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