Clio: The Autobiography of Martha Fowke Sansom, 1689-1736
This book presents for the modern reader Martha Fowke Sansom's autobiography Clio, an important document for our understanding of early women writers. Written in 1723, when she was in her mid-thirties, but not published until 1752, Clio offers an engaging and illuminating account of an independent woman writer who is remarkably frank about her attitudes to love and marriage. Although the work can be read simply and enjoyably for its own sake, this annotated edition provides a wealth of material that puts this fascinating text in its social and literary context. In Clio Fowke gives a careful analysis of the factors that formed her as a writer: her father's encouragement, her role as the composer of his love letters, the reading of romances, schooling, exposure to writers ranging from Ovid to Abraham Cowley, and later, an enthusiastic plunge into the work of Shakespeare. She documents aspects of social life, everything from petty annoyances to grand dramas of passion. The late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries saw widespread changes in social attitudes, and many women briefly saw the possibility of new ambitions for personal liberty, achievement, and the pursuit of happiness. Fowke's account of her life and its context illuminate this historical moment. The work details with flair, skill, irony, and passion a woman's sense of her self as a writer, as well as her emotional, social, and sexual experience. Clio is a lively, even comic, narrative, full of precise detail about social interactions. Fowke's confident presentation of self contains much to challenge assumptions about eighteenth-century women.
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Family and Upbringing
Fowke and Her Social Context
Fowke and Sexuality
Fowke and Eliza Haywood
Fowke and Aaron Hill
Fowke as Mrs Sansom
Clio as Text
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55 Line Aaron Hill adored agreeable Angel Aphra Behn autobiography Beauties bless Bosom Brother charm charm'd Charmer Clio and Strephon cold cou'd Cousin daughter dear Death divine Duke Edmund Curll Eighteenth-Century Eliza Haywood ev'ry Eyes Father fear Flame fond Fortune Fowke's Friend Friendship Fulham Gentleman Gerard Fowke Giles Jacob give grew Grief happy Heart Heaven heavenly Hill's Hillarius Honour Hours House implored Inner Temple intreated Jacobite John Dyer knew Lady languish leave Letters live Lodgings London Love Lover marriage married Martha Fowke Sansom Martha Sansom Memoirs Mind Miscellany Mother Muse never o'er Pain Passion Person Pity Pleasure poems poor praise retired Richard Savage Richardson Pack seems shining Sighs Sir William soft Soul Staffordshire surprized sweet Tears tender thee thing Thomas Fowke thou thought thousand Town trembling verse wish woman women World wou'd writing wrote young
Page 201 - She pretends, however, to have an intimate acquaintance with the Muses — has judgment .enough to know that ease and please make a Rhyme, and to count ten Syllables on her Fingers. — This is the Stock with which she sets up for a Wit, and among some ignorant Wretches passes for such; but with People of true Understanding, nothing affords more subject of ridicule, than that incoherent Stuff which she calls Verses.