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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, the Bible, and Order and Disorder

Lucy Hutchinson, the Bible, and Order and Disorder

(p.170) 6 Lucy Hutchinson, the Bible, and Order and Disorder
Forms of Engagement

Elizabeth Scott-Baumann

Oxford University Press

This chapter shows how Lucy Hutchinson politicized the process of reading in her long biblical poem Order and Disorder. The poem and its marginal notes show her guiding her Restoration readers into an appropriate way of interpreting the Bible, and her poem. This chapter shows that Hutchinson used biblical references to create a radical subtext for the poem, threatening the restored monarchy with her presentation of kings whose rule is 'despised' by their subjects. It is argued that Hutchinson develops a poetics of not knowing, of willing uncertainty, in order to counter skeptical thought. This chapter will reveal connections with Guillaume Du Bartas's Divine Weekes, Abraham Cowley's Davideis, and Milton's Paradise Lost. Order and Disorder presents fascinating evidence of how seventeenth-century poets perceived the epic to be gendered, and the ways in which it became both a vehicle for political comment and a form with which to experiment.

Keywords:   Lucy Hutchinson, John Milton, order and disorder, paradise lost, Abraham Cowley, Guillaume du Bartas

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