By Elizabeth Scott-Baumann
'Forms of Engagement' sheds mild on questions of poetic shape in women's poetry. It lines the affects at the paintings of Lucy Hutchinson, Katherine Philips, and Margaret Cavendish, permitting readers to appreciate larger either how ladies composed their poems and the way they engaged with their contemporaries.
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Additional info for Forms of engagement : women, poetry and culture, 1640-1680
Commonplace books would frequently collect quotations under headings which included virtues and vices. Readers would record passages from diverse sources under relevant headings, creating a patchwork of quotable, instructive and meditational phrases for future use. The essays in Cavendish’s Olio mimic several features of the commonplacing tradition, sometimes toying with its moralistic implications by reversing the connotations of conventional virtues and vices. The shortness of Cavendish’s essays mimics the commonplace book’s contents, of quotable, aphoristic passages.
30). The ‘reading’ of John Hutchinson and God both provide wagers for Hutchinson’s own writings. Like Margaret and William Cavendish, Lucy and John Hutchinson seem to have enjoyed a reciprocally rewarding intellectual relationship, into which Memoirs of the Life of Colonel Hutchinson provides glimpses. Both husband and wife “chose” reading matter for each other, as in the episode in Memoirs when she reads about child baptism and develops her own doubts about its scriptural authority. 70 Lucy Hutchinson’s prose testament to her husband, the Memoirs, shows Lucy and John Hutchinson shaping each other’s religious reading.
71 Here John Hutchinson reads the New Testament in sequence, approving its literary qualities (“coherence and connexion”), as well as its spiritual understanding. Hutchinson’s reading of the Bible was highly influenced by her husband, and it is likely they shared many reading habits, as well as interpretive inclinations. In Order and Disorder we can see these combined reading techniques played out. Hutchinson follows biblical narrative, elaborating on the events of Genesis, but she also draws in other passages through the margins, sometimes encouraging typological interpretation, sometimes amplifying the poem’s political tenor.