Early Eighteenth-Century Women Poets
In Poetic Sisters, Deborah Kennedy explores the personal and literary connections among five early eighteenth-century women poets: Anne Finch, Countess of Winchilsea; Elizabeth Singer Rowe; Frances Seymour, Countess of Hertford; Sarah Dixon; and Mary Jones. Richly illustrated and elegantly written, this book brings the eighteenth century to life, presenting a diverse range of material from serious religious poems to amusing verses on domestic life. The work of Anne Finch, author of "A Nocturnal Reverie," provides the cornerstone for this well informed study. But it was Elizabeth Rowe who achieved international fame for her popular religious writings. Both women influenced the Countess of Hertford, who wrote about the beauty of nature centuries before modern Earth Day celebrations. Sarah Dixon, a middle-class writer from Kent, had a strong moral outlook and stood up for those whose voices needed to be heard, including her own. Finally, Mary Jones, who lived in Oxford, was praised for both her genius and her sense of humour. Poetic Sisters presents a fascinating female literary network, revealing the bonds of a shared vocation that unites these writers. It also traces their literary afterlife from the eighteenth century to the present day, with references to contemporary culture, demonstrating how their work resonates with new generations of readers.
"Poetic Sisters is a major contribution to our understanding of early eighteenth-century English poetry, so it therefore should have a place in
every university's library to serve both scholar and student long and well."
--H. George Hahn, Towson University, The Eighteenth-Century Intelligencer 27:2 (2013): 10-12.
About the author:
Deborah Kennedy is professor of English at Saint Mary's University in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada. She specializes in British literature of the eighteenth century and the romantic period. She is the author of Helen Maria Williams and the Age of Revolution (Bucknell University Press) and has published on a variety of subjects, including women's literary history, women and popular music, eighteenth-century art history, and the British poetic tradition.
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