by Marsha Dubrow
"Shakespeare’s Sisters: Voices of English and European Women Writers, 1500-1700", a fascinating exhibition at Washington's Folger Shakespeare Library, illuminates little-known early women writers -- from queens to prostitutes.
The writers include 15-year-old future Queen Elizabeth I; Queen Catharine Parr, Henry VIII’s sixth and final wife; Shakespeare contemporary Elizabeth Cary, viscountess Falkland, whose play was similar to "Othello"; Lady Anne Clifford, whose 17th century diaries reveal her life-long struggles to gain her inheritance, somewhat like "Downton Abbey"; and kings' mistresses Hortense and Marie Mancini, the first women memoirists, whose works became international blockbusters. The free exhibit continues through May 20.
Marsha Dubrow writes the DC Art Travel column on examiner.com. Her arts and travel stories have run in National Geographic Traveler, Washington Post, Houston Chronicle, as well as World Footprints. She was a Correspondent for Life, People, Punch, and Reuters. Dubrow earned an M.F.A. in Writing and Literature at Bennington College, which published her book, Single Blessedness. Her essays and fiction appear in anthologies including When Last on the Mountain and Still Going Strong.