Jane Lumley

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File:Jane Fitzalan, Lady Lumley.jpg
Portrait of Jane Fitzalan, Lady Lumley, by Steven van der Meulen.

Jane (or Joanna), Lady Lumley (née Fitzalan; 1537–1578), was the first person to translate Euripides into English. She was the eldest child of Henry Fitzalan, 12th Earl of Arundel (1512–1580) and his first wife, Katherine Grey (died 1542). Arundel had Jane and her sister Mary educated very well, and his library, later known as the Lumley Library, was central to this project. She married John Lumley, first Baron Lumley (c.1533–1609), in or around 1550, when she was twelve. They had three children, all of whom died in childhood. Himself a scholar, translator, and book collector, John Lumley supported the literary activities of his wife. The couple first lived at Lumley Castle in Durham, and then joined Arundel in Surrey where Jane nursed her father through illness before predeceasing him.

Jane Lumley's scholarship and learning gained her a considerable contemporary reputation. She translated selected orations of Isocrates from Greek into Latin, and Euripides's Iphigeneia at Aulis from the original Greek (or possibly, according to Caroline Coleman, from Erasmus's Latin translation) into English. Her manuscripts were preserved in her father's library, which was joined, after his death, to John Lumley's own considerable library and then passed into crown control in 1609. Her translation of Iphigenia is the first known dramatic work by a woman in English.


  • Buck, Claire, ed. "Lumley, Joanna Fitzalan (c. 1537-1576/77)." The Bloomsbury Guide to Women's Literature. New York: Prentice Hall, 1992. 764.
  • Coleman, Caroline. "Lumley, Joanna, Lady." British Women Writers: A Critical Reference Guide. London: Routledge, 1989. 427.

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