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Margaret J. M. Ezell

Chapter 8 Late seventeenth-century women poets and the anxiety of attribution Margaret J. M. Ezell High-born Belinda loves to blame; On criticism founds her fame: Whene’er she thinks a fault she spies, How pleasure sparkles in her eyes! ‘Call it not poetry,’ she says, ‘No – call it rhyming, if you please: Her numbers might adorn a ring, Or serve along the streets to sing…’ Mary Barber, ‘To a Lady, who commanded me to send her an Account in Verse, how I succeeded in my Subscription’ (1734) A nne Killigrew’s literary reputation, as critics have pointed out, has

in Early modern women and the poem
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An anthology of seventeenthcentury women’s writing

This anthology makes accessible to readers ten little-known and understudied works by seventeenth-century women (edited from manuscript and print) that explore the relationship between spiritual and physical health during this period. Providing a detailed and engaging introduction to the issues confronted when studying women's writing from this period, the anthology also examines female interpretations of illness, exploring beliefs that toothache and miscarriage (and other complications involving pregnancy) could be God's punishments, but also, paradoxically, that such terrible suffering could be understood as proof that a believer was eternally beloved. Many of the extracts in the anthology present illness as an important part of women's conversion, confirming their religious beliefs, but some women interpreted bodily dysfunction as the result of the Devil's temptations, in some cases leading them to practise starvation and attempt suicide. Unlike many previous studies of seventeenth-century women's writing, this anthology considers both religious and medical contexts for the works, demonstrating the importance of an interdisciplinary approach to studying them, and these contexts are both discussed at length in the book's introduction. Each of the ten extracts also has its own introduction, highlighting relevant contexts and further reading, and is fully annotated.

For women writers, the decades of the English Civil War were of special importance. This book presents a complex and rewarding poetic culture that is both uniquely women-centred and integrally connected to the male canonical poetry. It brings together extensive selections of poetry by the five most prolific and prominent women poets of the English Civil War: Anne Bradstreet, Hester Pulter, Margaret Cavendish, Katherine Philips, and Lucy Hutchinson. All these five women were attracting new and concerted attention as poets by seventeenth-century women. Bradstreet's poems first appeared in The Tenth Muse Lately Sprung up in America, and the later volume of Several Poemsincluded revised texts of those poems and several new ones. Each version of the poems spoke more directly on the context of the English Civil War. Pulter's poems construe Broadfield as a place of unwelcome isolation: she describes herself as 'shut up in a country grange', 'tied to one habitation', and 'buried, thus, alive'. Philips's poetry was first printed in 1664, her state-political poems, on members of the royal family and events of the Civil War, Interregnum, and Restoration, suggest Philips as a poet writing on matters of political significance. Cavendish's two major editions of Poems and Fancies in 1653 and 1664 each have strongly competing claims both to textual authority and to the more resonant political moment. Across poetry and prose, print and manuscript, Hutchinson's writing bears the marks of her fervent hostility to corrupt rulers and her remarkably broad education, adventurous reading habits, and energetic intellect.

Editor: Susan Wiseman

In examining early modern women and the poem, this book explores how women use poetry, and how poems use women, in England and Scotland in the period 1550–1680. Several decades of critical writing on 'women's poetry', 'gender and poetry', and the representation of women, or gender, in poetry have produced a rich and complex critical and scholarly field. The book looks at the primary and secondary evidence concerning two key elements in the analysis of early modern women's writing, namely, women and the poem. It first explores the way women understood the poem in terms of the reception, influence and adaptation of past models and examples, working from the reception of classical texts. It focuses on the resources women writing poetry knew and encountered in chapters on classical inheritance, the religious sonnet sequence and the secular sonnet sequence. The book then examines the world of reading and readers, and looks at poems in terms of friendships, quarrels, competitions, coteries, networks and critical reception, both then and later. It also emphasises the tales that poems tell, and how those stories both register and shape the understanding of women and the poem in the world of potential readers. In examining women and the poem, the use of women as signifiers and bearers of meaning in poetry is as significant as women's literary production.

Author: Cathryn Spence

This text provides the first full-length consideration of women’s economic roles in early modern Scottish towns. Drawing on tens of thousands of cases entered into burgh court litigation between 1560 and 1640 in Edinburgh, Dundee, Haddington, and Linlithgow, Women, credit, and debt explores how Scottish women navigated their courts and their communities. This includes a consideration of the lifecycle stage of these women, and whether those active in litigation were wives, widows, or singlewomen. The employments and by-employments that brought these women to court, and the roles these women had in the economy, are also considered. In particular, this book explores the roles of women as merchants and merchandisers, producers and sellers of ale, landladies, moneylenders, and servants. Comparing the Scottish experience to that of England and Europe, Spence shows that through the latter half of the sixteenth century and into the seventeenth century women were conspicuously active in burgh court litigation and, by extension, were active and engaged participants in the early modern Scottish economy. This book reevaluates what we thought we knew about women in the early modern period. As such, it will be of particular interest to those studying and teaching Scottish social and economic history and valuable to anyone studying the history of work and gender. It will also appeal to all feminists who have an interest in how women negotiate economic roles.

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Sarah C.E. Ross and Elizabeth Scott-Baumann

by Custom Cursed: Transatlantic Civil Discourse and New England Cultural Production, 1620–1660 (Hanover and London: University Press of New England, 1999) Suzuki, Mihoko, ‘What’s Political in Seventeenth-Century Women’s Political Writing?’, Literature Compass, 6 (2009): 927–41 Wade White, Elizabeth, Anne Bradstreet: The Tenth Muse (New York: Oxford University Press, 1971) Wiseman, Susan, Conspiracy and Virtue: Women, Writing, and Politics in SeventeenthCentury England (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2006) Wright, Gillian, Producing Women’s Poetry, 1660–1730: Text

in Women poets of the English Civil War
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Sarah C.E. Ross and Elizabeth Scott-Baumann

Hutchinson. Hester Pulter was not known at all. Whether their work has been known for centuries or only a couple of decades, however, all five women whose poetry is collected in this anthology are attracting new and concerted attention as poets at the centre of a rich and diverse culture of poetry by seventeenth-century women. For women writers, the decades of the English Civil War were of special importance. Women’s literacy increased exponentially over the seventeenth century as a whole, and it is that century (rather than the conventional literary-critical period of

in Women poets of the English Civil War
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Researching early modern women and the poem
Susan Wiseman

that made them, from friendship to textual exchanges. Paradoxically, the terms on which the poem is widely circulated arguably place it under a pressure of isolation that shrinks its claim to significance. It seems, perhaps, like a smaller piece of evidence when organised under a single author rather than leading us to a complex nexus of literary, religious and political friendship, retreat and memorialisation. Anthologisation has been important in the recovery and transmission of poems authored by seventeenth-century women, and that many of the poets studied here

in Early modern women and the poem
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Dympna Callaghan

1611 (examined by Brownlee and Gallagher, Elizabeth Hodgson, and Alison Thorne) to the women petitioners of the Interregnum (also discussed by Thorne). While the aristocratic Lady Cheke’s access to rebuttal in the 1590s was based on privilege, crucially, in the course of the seventeenth century, women from a much wider range of class positions succeeded in securing for

in Biblical women in early modern literary culture 1550–1700
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Rachel Adcock, Sara Read, and Anna Ziomek

(‘my all’), she pleads in her elegy on the death of Robert, could be exchanged with God’s only son (‘thy all’). ‘A Dialogue betwixt the Soul, and the Body’ combines two important genres that seventeenth-century women utilised: the conversion narrative, where writers recall and recount their turn towards God; and the mother’s legacy, intended for use in place of the mother if she died in childbirth. In preparation for her forthcoming labour, Carey writes that she wanted to record all her assurances of salvation so that under severe bodily pain, when she was in

in Flesh and Spirit