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Forms of EngagementWomen, Poetry and Culture 1640-1680$
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Elizabeth Scott-Baumann

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199676521

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199676521.001.0001

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Lucy Hutchinson's Elegies, the Country-House Poem, and Female Complaint

Lucy Hutchinson's Elegies, the Country-House Poem, and Female Complaint

(p.144) 5 Lucy Hutchinson's Elegies, the Country-House Poem, and Female Complaint
Forms of Engagement

Elizabeth Scott-Baumann

Oxford University Press

This chapter shows that in the seventeenth-century elegy was alive to various formal re-workings. Poets since Ovid had used the elegy to write erotic love poetry, while it had also developed its modern sense of poetry written for the dead. Lucy Hutchinson's Elegies develops an unusual and original kind of elegy, fusing the form's erotic, mourning and political functions and creating poems which are intensely both political and personal. Using original manuscript evidence from Hutchinson's poems and commonplace book, this chapter reveals Hutchinson alluding to Virgil's Dido (in the translation of courtly poet Sidney Godolphin), alongside the more troubling model of female articulacy presented by Eve; both figures are evoked in the Elegies. It also shows how three of Hutchinson's poems on her Nottinghamshire estate, Owthorpe, are elegiac and dystopian country house poems, developing the genre as used by Ben Jonson and Aemilia Lanyer.

Keywords:   Lucy Hutchinson, elegy, Ben Jonson, to penshurst, country-house poetry, women and property, Aemilia Lanyer, Virgil, Dido, Sidney Godolphin, Eve

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