In their verse, many British women composing poetry in the long eighteenth century wrote about and reflected on the very process of writing itself. In doing so, they often imitated and adapted specific poetic topoi, motifs, and generic patterns established by their male predecessors and peers including, among others, Homer, Ovid, and Juvenal, Dryden, Pope, and Swift. In exploring the phallic connotations of ‘pen and ink’, in invoking the assistance of a personal muse, in writing sharp and effective ‘self-satires’, and in identifying themselves with Philomela, the mythological persona of the nightingale, women like Anne Finch, Mary Chudleigh, Sarah Dixon, Mary Leapor, Anna Letitia Barbauld, and Charlotte Smith fashioned and authorized themselves as (female) poets.
Frankfurt am Main, Berlin, Bern, Bruxelles, New York, Oxford, Wien, 2008. 313 pp.
Contents: The Rights of Woman: Anne Finch, «The Introduction» – Making Atonements: Laetitia Pilkington, «Carte Blanche»
– A Possessive Guest: Jane Barker, «To My Muse» – Of Bubbles and Verse: Anna Letitia Barbauld, «Washing-Day» – The Broken
Petticoat: Sarah Dixon, «The Slattern» – Portrait of a Madwoman: Mary Leapor, «Mira’s Picture» – Out of Reach: Anne Finch,
«To the Nightingale» – Sighing and Singing: Charlotte Smith, «To a Nightingale».