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Women's Writing in the British Atlantic World
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  • Page extent: 276 pages
  • Size: 228 x 152 mm
  • Weight: 0.54 kg


 (ISBN-13: 9780521880985)

Women’s Writing in the British Atlantic World Cambridge University Press
9780521880985 - WOMEN’S WRITING IN THE BRITISH ATLANTIC WORLD - by Kate Chedgzoy


Kate Chedgzoy explores the ways in which women writers of the early modern British Atlantic world imagined, visited, created and haunted textual sites of memory. Asking how women’s writing from all parts of the British Isles and Britain’s Atlantic colonies employed the resources of memory to make sense of the changes that were refashioning that world, the book suggests that memory is itself the textual site where the domestic echoes of national crisis can most insistently be heard. Offering readings of the work of poets who contributed to the oral traditions of Wales, Scotland and Ireland, alongside analyses of poetry, fiction and life-writings by well-known and less familiar writers such as Hester Pulter, Lucy Hutchinson, Mary Rowlandson and Aphra Behn, the book explores how women’s writing of memory gave expression to the everyday, intimate consequences of the major geopolitical changes that took place in the British Atlantic world in the seventeenth century. Telling a story about women’s textual production which is geographically and linguistically expansive and inclusive, it offers an unprecedently capacious and diverse history of early modern British women’s writing as it began to take its place in a new Atlantic world.

KATE CHEDGZOY is Professor of Renaissance Literature at the University of Newcastle. She is the author of Shakespeare’s Queer Children: Sexual Politics and Contemporary Culture (1996), and co-editor with Susanne Greenhalgh of a special issue of the journal Shakespeare on Shakespeare’s incorporation into the cultures of childhood (2006). She is also co-editor of the volume Shakespeare and Childhood, with Susanne Greenhalgh and Robert Shaughnessy (Cambridge University Press, 2007).


Memory, Place and History, 1550-1700

University of Newcastle

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Cambridge University Press
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Published in the United States of America by Cambridge University Press, New York
Information on this title:

© Kate Chedgzoy 2007

This publication is in copyright. Subject to statutory exception
and to the provisions of relevant collective licensing agreements,
no reproduction of any part may take place without
the written permission of Cambridge University Press.

First published 2007

Printed in the United Kingdom at the University Press, Cambridge

A catalogue record for this publication is available from the British Library

ISBN 978-0-521-88098-5 hardback

Cambridge University Press has no responsibility for the persistence or
accuracy of URLs for external or third-party internet websites referred to
in this publication, and does not guarantee that any content on such
websites is, or will remain, accurate or appropriate.


Acknowledgementspage vii

Introduction: ‘A place on the map is also a place in history’
1‘The rich Store-house of her memory’: The metaphors and practices of memory work16
2‘Writing things down has made you forget’: Memory, orality and cultural production48
3Recollecting women from early modern Ireland, Scotland and Wales80
4‘Shedding teares for England’s loss’: Women’s writing and the memory of war125
5Atlantic removes, memory’s travels168



This book had its first beginnings in the archival research I undertook on women’s writing in early modern Wales, supported by a Leverhulme Trust grant in 1997–8. As it developed, I benefited from the financial support of the British Academy and the Arts and Humanities Research Board, and I would like to acknowledge the immense intellectual value of the time to think and read that those relatively small amounts of money purchased for me. Those grants also funded research assistance from several people whose specialist expertise, energy and enthusiasm made vital contributions to the project: warm thanks to Cathryn Charnell-White, Francesca Rhydderch, Naomi McAreavey and Robin Kirschbaum.

The research for this book was carried out in a number of archives and libraries, whose staff were generous in sharing their time and expertise: I am grateful to them for that, and also wish to acknowledge formally the kindness of the following libraries in allowing me to consult and cite manuscripts in their care: Beinecke Library, Yale University; Bodleian Library, Oxford; Cambridge University Library; Cardiff City Library; Leeds University Library, Brotherton Collection; National Library of Scotland; National Library of Wales; Nottingham Record Office; Public Record Office of Northern Ireland; Trinity College, Cambridge.

I am deeply grateful to the colleagues who have read and commented on drafts (there have been so many drafts), and whose encouragement and interest in the project have been endlessly sustaining: Dympna Callaghan, Kate Hodgkin, Julie Sanders, Suzanne Trill, Sue Wiseman and Ramona Wray. As always, thanks are also due to Kate McLuskie and Ann Thompson for their untiring support of my work. These specific acknowledgements need to be set in the context of an immense debt to the community of feminist scholars working on early modern women’s writing, so many of whom – too many to mention them all by name – have helped me to formulate the questions that shaped this book, and to gather the evidence I’ve used to address them.

Colleagues at the University of Warwick helped me talk through ideas in the very early stages of the book: Peter Davidson, Jane Stevenson and Dominic Montserrat deserve special mention. In the School of English at the University of Newcastle, I found a remarkably supportive and stimulating environment for thinking about the politics of memory: thanks are due above all to Linda Anderson, who has done more than anyone else to create and sustain that intellectual community. I am grateful to all the colleagues and students I have worked with on the MA in Literary Studies: Writing, Memory, Culture, and my undergraduate early modern women’s writing modules, who have helped me think through the ideas for this book. Special thanks to Anthea Cordner, Anne Whitehead, and in particular to Jenny Richards, colleague extraordinaire.

In the later stages of research and writing, Sarah Stanton’s steady support and calm interest have kept me going, and helped me to do the best work I could manage. Reflecting on the comments of anonymous readers for the Press has been invaluable in bringing the project to completion.

Finally, I owe most of all to Diana Paton. I started work on the research project that would eventually turn into this book soon after I met her. The example of her intellectual integrity and political engagement has helped me to make it into a book that asks bigger questions and envisages the early modern world in terms of more complex geographies than I first imagined. For this, and for so much else, I am more grateful to her than I can say.

This book is for Polly Angharad and Miriam Rosa, who have helped me to remember that many things in life are much more important than writing books.

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