Gillian Wright
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Women poets and men’s sentences
Genre and literary tradition in Katherine Philips’s early poetry
in Early modern women and the poem
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This chapter considers how Katherine Philips responded to traditional literary forms and ideas in the poems of the Tutin manuscript. It focuses on the two genres for which she was later to become best known: retirement and friendship poetry. Philips was more than willing to engage with the gendered challenges of literary tradition. In responding to men's sentences, she learnt to produce her own. In A Room of One's Own, Virginia Woolf meditated on the difficulties faced by women of earlier centuries in trying to imagine themselves into English literary tradition. The chapter examines the history of English-language women's poetry between the late sixteenth and mid-seventeenth centuries. The terms for modern scholarship on Philips's poetry of rural withdrawal were set by Maren-Sofie Rostvig in her classic study of seventeenth-century retirement literature, The Happy Man.

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