Autobiography and Gender in Early Modern Literature: Reading by Sharon Cadman Seelig

By Sharon Cadman Seelig

Early glossy autobiographies and diaries offer a distinct perception into women's lives and the way they remembered, interpreted and represented their stories. Sharon Seelig analyzes the writings of six seventeenth-century ladies: diaries through Margaret Hoby and Anne Clifford, extra prolonged narratives by means of Lucy Hutchinson, Ann Fanshawe, and Anne Halkett, and the terribly assorted and self-dramatizing guides of Margaret Cavendish. Combining an unique account of the improvement of autobiography with research of the texts, Seelig explores the relation among the writers' offerings of style and shape and the tales they selected to inform.

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Extra info for Autobiography and Gender in Early Modern Literature: Reading Women's Lives, 1600-1680

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Yet we as readers, while acknowledging the former, also seek and find the latter. The shaping of her life, which depends so heavily on prayer, reading of scripture, and devotion, emerges less as a monotonous pattern or an image of subjection to a pattern than as a matter of choice and control, an elusive record of an ongoing interaction with a model of life. ”51 And in the opening and closing, in the rhythm of her daily life and in the syntax in which she expresses it, we may also sense a degree of agency and confidence, marked by the ever-present and powerful first person of this text.

28, 1599) Although this text seems light years away from Donne’s intensely personal, rhetorically sophisticated, and elaborate self-analysis in the Devotions upon Emergent Occasions, both share the notion that the daily activities of the subject are worth recording. Donne recounts his experience with a host of questions and a wealth of biblical quotations and literary context; Margaret Hoby simply records her daily life; but for both writers the subject’s life in this world merits close attention.

I was not allowed to be one because I was not high enough, which did much trouble me then, but yet I stood in the Church at Westminster to see the Solemnities performed” (D. J. H. , 22). This brief narrative ingenuously combines the normal concerns of an emerging adolescent with larger familial and political issues. Frequently, the young Anne Clifford seems to have nothing more on her mind than sociability: she details time happily spent with friends and cousins: “All this time we were merry at North Hall.

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