Poetry and Politics: Anne Bradstreet and Lucy Hutchinson
This chapter examines women's place in the mid-seventeenth century understanding of politics, what might be called the political imaginary, from distinct, even opposite, vantage points. It pursues the question of the way women's poetry imagines politics. Discussing the poetry of Anne Bradstreet and Lucy Hutchinson, this chapter investigates the political and poetic projects of these far from royalist poets during the upheavals of the 1650s and 1660s. Bradstreet's The Tenth Muse gives a disciplined typological poetic history, starting with elements and humours, and building up to an analysis of national histories that uses fifth monarchist ideas. Fifth monarchist ideas were long-lived, widespread, and part of controversies over church discipline and the future of the republic. Hutchinson is relatively unusual because of her deep and rigorous engagement with the materials of elite masculine culture. Most of her extensive writings remained in manuscript throughout her life.
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