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Title: "Thoughts all easie and sociable" : friendship and community in early modern women's poetry
Author: Kirschbaum, Robin Elizabeth
ISNI:       0000 0004 2739 1080
Awarding Body: University of Newcastle Upon Tyne
Current Institution: University of Newcastle upon Tyne
Date of Award: 2012
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Seventeenth century Britain was defined by political conflict and social upheaval. This period of change has led scholars to describe withdrawal from public life as a natural response for many writers. This thesis traces a trajectory of women's political engagement through textual exchange and the manipulation of the classically derived traditions of friendship and community which reforms such retreat as an enabling, rather than restrictive, condition. The intersection of personal experience and communal memory works to preserve a community set adrift without a stable political state, and solidify the individual's place within this community through a turn inwards rather than reliance on external structures. For the writers of this study, platonic friendship is the stabilising force in an uncertain world and the means of creating and sustaining a political community through individual relationships. The three women under study, Katherine Philips, Jane Barker and Elizabeth Singer Rowe, present three historically and individually distinct experiences of political engagement and social reconstruction. However, despite their differences, there is discernable a common thread in the re-imagining of the boundaries of the social world. Their verse goes beyond the analogies made between state and domestic authority to reveal the complex way in which individuals reacted to the turbulent political events of the seventeenth century. Engagement with established poetic forms, such as the Pindaric ode, and poetic traditions, such as the pastoral, is a means of exploring the roles and agency available to women. This thesis will examine the letters and verse of these three women alongside the works of their contemporaries, some of which appeared in printed poetic collections and others, such as Barker's Magdalen manuscript and Rowe's Green Letter Book, remain only in manuscript form. These texts illustrate a complex nexus of political history, neo-Classical philosophy, textual studies and social theory which shape a fluid concept of community and self which is imaginatively constructed and self-sustaining.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available