Women’s poetry and classical authors
Lucy Hutchinson and the classicisation of scripture
in Early modern women and the poem
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Early modern women poets' search for cultural authority and poetic voice involved a vexed, sometimes contradictory relationship to literary models. Classical poetry was especially awkward for women writers to accommodate and imitate, for a variety of social and cultural reasons. The poetry of Lucy Hutchinson, nee Apsley, places the vexed relationship to the exemplary authority of mostly male classical authors in a particularly intriguing light. Hutchinson's impulse to scriptural explication is unlikely to have troubled any biblicist contemporaries. But in turning to Ovid of all writers to satisfy it, her poetics seems out of line with contemporary reassertions of the primacy of scripture, and more like older humanistic attempts to reconcile classical and biblical creation myths. An allusion to the Metamorphoses illuminates a tension between Hutchinson's humanist poetics and scripturalist theology. The scholarly approach to interpretation of scripture can be detected in her Genesis narrative.

Editor: Susan Wiseman


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