Eighteenth-Century Women Poets and Their Poetry: Inventing Agency, Inventing Genre

Front Cover
JHU Press, Nov 28, 2005 - Literary Criticism - 514 pages
0 Reviews

This major study offers a broad view of the writing and careers of eighteenth-century women poets, casting new light on the ways in which poetry was read and enjoyed, on changing poetic tastes in British culture, and on the development of many major poetic genres and traditions.

Rather than presenting a chronological survey, Paula R. Backscheider explores the forms in which women wrote and the uses to which they put those forms. Considering more than forty women in relation to canonical male writers of the same era, she concludes that women wrote in all of the genres that men did but often adapted, revised, and even created new poetic kinds from traditional forms.

Backscheider demonstrates that knowledge of these women's poetry is necessary for an accurate and nuanced literary history. Within chapters on important canonical and popular verse forms, she gives particular attention to such topics as women's use of religious poetry to express candid ideas about patriarchy and rape; the continuing evolution and important role of the supposedly antiquarian genre of the friendship poetry; same-sex desire in elegy by women as well as by men; and the status of Charlotte Smith as a key figure of the long eighteenth century, not only as a Romantic-era poet.

  

What people are saying - Write a review

We haven't found any reviews in the usual places.

Contents

Introduction
1
Anne Finch and What Women Wrote 2 8
28
Women and Poetry in the Public Eye
80
Hymns Narratives and Innovations in Religious Poetry
123
Friendship Poems
175
Retirement Poetry
233
The Elegy
268
The Sonnet Charlotte Smith and What Women Wrote
316
Conclusion
376
Copyright

Common terms and phrases

References to this book

About the author (2005)

Paula R. Backscheider is the Philpott-Stevens Eminent Scholar in the Department of English at Auburn University. She is the author of several books, including Daniel Defoe: His Life, Spectacular Politics: Theatrical Power and Mass Culture in Early Modern England, and Reflections on Biography, and editor of Revising Women: Eighteenth-Century "Women's Fiction" and Social Engagement.

Bibliographic information