During our class discussion on Manley, I was not surprised by her family shipping her off to France. I was also not very surprised that she was engaged in various illegal activities. She met a man named Tilly, who seemed to be her poison. She carried her scandalous behaviour into her works, writing “The Secret History of Queen Zarah”. Manley was a writer of amatory fiction was in some of the sources I have read online, she is compared to Aphra Behn and Eliza Haywood.

There seems to be a focus on her physical appearance; she is described as being obese and having manly features. I find her to be very interesting and her writing entertaining. She took a stance in her beliefs and I applaud her for her efforts.

I found Manley to be very similar to Pope; she satirically sense of humour and making fun of people did not make her a well-liked person. I find it empowering that a woman would have enough courage to speak her mind, just as Alexander Pope would have felt comfortable with his writings. Although society did not seem to think it appropriate for a female writer to be speaking her mind and making satirical jokes toward “Whigs” or anyone else.

I would have liked to have read more of Manley’s works in this class!

Cheers for now!



Astell & Wollstonecraft

Mary Astell and Mary Wollstonecraft are very similar in their beliefs. Both women wrote about education, a woman’s position and human rights. Astell’s devotion and adovaction of equal educational opportunities earned her the title as “the first english feminist”. In “Some Reflections Upon Marriage”, Astell encourages women to seek out a marriage with friendship rather than money and necessity. Thus, Astell would have been against the idea of “courtship marriage”; women not having a voice in whom their suitor would be. There are some quotes from her works that I find very intriguing:

“Your glass will not do you half so much service as a serious reflection on your own minds”. —A Serious Proposal to the Ladies, Part I

“How can you be content to be in the world like tulips in a garden, to make a fine show, and be good for nothing”. —A Serious Proposal to the Ladies, Part I

“Women are from their very infancy debarred those Advantages with the want of which they are afterwards reproached”. —A Serious Proposal to the Ladies, Part I

“Women need not take up with mean things, since (if they are not wanting to themselves) they are capable of the best”. —A Serious Proposal to the Ladies, Part I

‘Tis very great pity that they who are so apt to over-rate themselves in smaller matters, shou’d, where it most concerns them to know, and stand upon their Value, be so insensible of their own worth”. —A Serious Proposal to the Ladies, Part I

“To introduce poor Children into the World, and neglect to fence them against the temptations of it, and so leave them expos’d to temporal and eternal Miseries, is a wickedness, for which I want a Name; ’tis beneath Brutality; the Beasts are better natur’d for they take care of their off-spring, till they are capable of caring for themselves”.
A Serious Proposal to the Ladies, Part I

I could go on and on copying her quotes, truthfully I love them all…. it is apparent that Astell wanted to be more than an object in a row with other objects; how can a flower stand out among other flowers if they all look the same??? I LOVE this quote, very inspiring!! She has an outspoken voice that I admire and she believes in the rights of female writers.

Mary Wollstonecraft has many of the same views as Astell but as portrayed in the presentation, she had a few marriages and had a daughter whom we all know now as Mary Shelley.

Left-looking half-length portrait of a possibly pregnant woman in a white dress

Mary Wollstonecraft is best known for “A Vindication of the Rights of Woman”. It is unfortunate that Wollstonecraft did not live a long life. Mary Shelley’s “Frankenstein” is a very enjoyable read. I read this book back in high school and I also had the chance to re-read it again in university in one of Dr, Creelman’s classes. I always thought growing up that the name Frankenstein was the name of the monster, when in fact the name comes from the scientist who created the monster. Here is a funny story for you….. in my university english class that we read this story, we all wrote an 8-10 page paper on the novel, I can’t quite remember the essay topics but I remember that part of the process of this paper was to have a draft written in class and we were to pass them around and mark one another’s work. I remember marking someone’s paper that refered to Frankenstein quite frequently as “the monster”. I had to laugh inside my head because it was obvious that this person did not even read the text; they probably just went by memory or something. Anyway, I can only imagine what kind of mark they got and what the professor had to say to them…haha! Anyways, enough of my rambling, I thought I would share that story with you!:-)

Until next time!

Cheers! 🙂

This entry was posted on March 15, 2012. 2 Comments

Early 17th Century Writing

Early 17th century writing:

As you can see I am not following my blogs by chronological order of the syllabus but simply as I feel like writing about them:-)

Aemilia Lanyer was the first English woman to have a volume of poems published. As we discussed in class, most of her poetry focused on patrons. In”The Description of Cooke-Ham”, the poem is dedicated to Margaret Clifford, Countess of Cumberland, who was Lanyer’s patroness. These poems were usually written to flatter the patrons on their homes; describing the fruitfulness and stability of a patron’s country and estate and sometimes even their patron’s conservative virtues. The house itself is not mentioned, the focus in this poem is the country setting; sitting under trees and relaxing in the country. There is pathetic fallacy throughout this poem, reflecting her mood through nature’s “bright eyes”. I found this poem to be very enjoyable and reminds me of a Victorian era, with great attention to detail and very descriptive.

There are several lines in this poem that I find well written; I thought I would share them with you:

“FArewell (sweet Cooke-ham) where I first obtain’d/ Grace from that Grace where perfit Grace remain’d/ And where the Muses gaue their full consent/ I should haue powre the virtuous to content/ Where princely Palace will’d me to indite/ The sacred Storie of the Soules delight” (1-6).

“And in sad murmure vtterd pleasing sound, That Pleasure in that place might more abound: The swelling Bankes deliuer’d all their pride, When such a Phoenix once they had espide” (39-44).

“In whose faire breast true virtue then was hous’d: Oh what delight did my weake spirits find, In those pure parts of her well framed mind: And yet it grieues me that I cannot be Neere vnto her, whose virtues did agree, With those faire ornaments of outward beauty, Which did enforce from all both loue and dutie. Vnconstant Fortune, thou art most too blame, Who casts vs downe into so lowe a frame: Where our great friends wee cannot dayly see,  So great a diffrence is there in degree” (96-106).

“Caught fast your clothes, thinking to make you stay: Delightfull Eccho wonted to reply To our last words, did now for sorrow die: The house cast off each garment that might grace it, Putting on Dust and Cobwebs to deface it. All desolation then there did appeare, When you were going whom they held so deare. This last farewell to Cooke-ham here I giue,  When I am dead thy name in this may liue Wherein I haue perform’d her noble hest, Whose virtues lodge in my vnworthy breast, And euer shall, so long as life remaines, Tying my heart to her by those rich chaines” (198-210).

In Lanyer’s “Salve Deus Rex Judaecrum”, Margaret Clifford, Countess of Cumberland is mentioned again. Lanyer also seems to be praising female patrons and almost catalogues virtuous women from the ancient world.

All-in-all I enjoyed Lanyer’s works.


Anne Askew

I thought this may be a good time to catch up on some of my blogging. I found the history of Anne Askew to be very interesting. Her life tragically ends when she is tortured and burnt at the stake. The church leaders did not believe in her beliefs, in my opinion they were probably threatened by her and being a powerful women in her time was seen as demonic and not tolerated within society let alone the church. Her works included “The ballad of Anne Askew”, “The First Examination” and “The Latter Examination”.  Anne says: “O Lord, I have more enemies now, then there be hairs on my head! Yet, Lord, let them never overcome me with vain words, but fight thou, Lord, in my stead: for on Thee cast I my care!…And, Lord, I heartly desire of Thee, that, Thou wilt, of Thy most merciful goodness, forgive them that violence which they do…” This is one of my favourite quotes of her works.

I hope I do not offend anyone by saying this but this passage reminds me of Mary Magdalene in the sense that they were both devoted to God and believed that his love and power would triumph over evil. I am not saying that Anne Askew measures up to Mary Magdalene in the least, all I am saying is that they both had a strong devotion to their God and sacrificed their lives for the church.

I think this may be one of the pictures that the presenters put into their presentation, if not this is the place where she was tortured and bunrt at the stake. Well I guess that is all I have to say about Anne Askew.

Until next time!

This entry was posted on March 15, 2012. 2 Comments

Mary Wroth

For my library assignment I chose to explore the life of Mary Wroth; surprisingly I found a lot of books and articles that contain her work and biographical information. My letter to the Acquisitions Department was a letter of congratulations; the university has a sufficient collection of her works. The only recommendation I made was that the Saint John campus library should obtain a copy of Josephine Roberts’ The Poems of Lady Mary Wroth. The Fredericton campus only has one copy and the Saint John campus would benefit from having a copy as well. This book is an entire collection of Lady Mary Wroth’s poems. In the introduction, Roberts’ research on Wroth’s life gives the reader an in-depth look at her history. It is beneficial to have her entire collection in one book, rather than having them scattered around.

Upon my research I discovered various anthologies that contain Wroth’s “Urania”, “Pamphilia” to “Amphilanthus”. Many historical references to the Renaissance period and women writers of this time was present in many of the texts I discovered. S. Cerasano’s Readings in Renaissance Women’s Drama: Criticism, History, and Performance incorporates a collection of the key critical commentaries and historical essays of Renaissance Women’s Drama; in both classic and contemporary. It also provides a comprehensive overview for students, teachers and scholars. The collection includes critical essays on drama by early modern women by critics such as Virginia Woolf and T.S. Eliot. It also contains new essays by some of today’s important female critics; providing a fresh view. This book is very interesting and I recommend you take a look at it.

Another interesting book I came across in my research is Margaret Hannay’s Mary Sidney, Lady Wroth. This biography situate Lady Mary Wroth in her family and court context, emphasizing the growth of the writer’s mind in the sections on her childhood and youth, with a focus on her learned aunt, Mary Sidney Herbert, Countess of Pembroke, as literary mentor, and on her Continental connections, Louise de Coligny, Princess of Orange. Margaret Hannay’s reliance on primary sources results in some corrections, as well as additions, to our knowledge of Wroth’s life, including Hannay’s discovery of the career of her son William, the marriages of her daughter Katherine, her grandchildren, her last years, the date of her death, and the subsequent history of her manuscripts. I could go on forever and talk about every book that I found interesting or that had significant meaning to my research but that would probably bore many of you. I will stop here and let you discover the story of Mary Wroth; she was an interesting women and this library assignment gave me an in-depth look and understanding into her life. Thanks Dr. Jones !

Until next time!

Behn there, done that.


In case you are wondering what the name of my blog means, I am referring to last week’s reading on Aphra Behn’s “The Unfortunate Happy Lady: A True Story”. “The Rover” seems to have similar aspects and themes found in last week’s story. There is a key theme of marriage and courtship. The women in “The Rover” are either sent off to a nunnery or are being forced to marry old men, how gross is that?!

In both stories Behn plays on the notion of “the double standard” that women face within society. Philadelphia’s brother tries to sell her off to prostitution when her father dies and eventually she finds herself in the company of an arrogant pig. Gracelove  is demeaning toward her, chasing her around and thinking she wants to be taken advantage of; he also claims that he thought she knew she was for sale. To keep a long, and I mean LONG, story short; in the end Philadelphia has  all the power in the end of Behn’s story. She is the one who gets to choose her husband and takes care of her brother secretly. She moves from a very vulnerable position to having the most power in the story. Is this even realistic for this time period?

As I mentioned before, the women in “The Rover” face the same double standards placed upon them. In the end the women marry whom they want. This play follows the conventions of the happy ending fairy tale, Kind of like the Disney princess stories; the princess always defeats evil and ends up with the prince. Maybe Behn was on to something here! From what I read of this story, the rape scenes were appalling. There was a lot of sexual violence in this play. Perhaps Behn was trying to place an emphasis  or exaggerate the relationships between men and women. The women are at the mercy of the men in this play; the notion of female vulnerability is echoed in this play, just as it is in last week’s story.

I really enjoy reading Behn’s work. As I commented on Brian’s blog, Margaret Atwood was my favorite writer; however, since taking 18th century prose and poetry and women in writing, Behn seems to be a favorite for me. I am glad I took both courses and was able to read her work and learn alittle of her history and character.

Well I think that is all I have to say about “The Rover”, I hope you all enjoyed reading this looooooong play!


Cautionary Tales

Aphra Behn is historically  recognized as an early feminist writer. Perhaps it is feminist in that the heroine manages to maintain her virtue in very dire circumstances.  Then, there is also the fact that she is providentially rewarded in the end for clinging to that virtue.  Also, she shows better character than many of the male counterparts through her generosity and virtue.  To add to that, Philadelphia gains a complete autonomy by the end of the tale.  This is wonderful in an age where this autonomy was not common, in my understanding.   I am suspicious of the subtitle: “A True History.”  Really?!  Uncommon and amazing.  This makes the tale much more riveting, whether it actually is true or not.  Just the hint that it could be must have been encouraging to the original female readers.  And perhaps this is what throws this story back into or keeps it in the realm of feminist literature:  The idea that it could be a true tale is very empowering to the female reader.  This is true even today.  By the end of the story, I could not help but imagine myself in the role of Philadelphia.  My, what a fate!  I should like to have complete control over who I will, in the end, marry (or, rather, in my case, what I would put the money toward!).  Would that I could show as much virtue as Philadelphia does in her treatment of her brother. In this story Behn also emphasizes virtue through the character of Philadelphia,  Sir William’s younger dear sister .  The introduction of Philadelphia is again established with a basis of virtue, “…his Sister Philadelphia, a young Lady of excellent Beauty, Education, Virtue…”(Behn 38).  Philadelphia would indeed seem just as virtuous during the time of the other two texts. Her virtue is timeless, but never more respected and appreciated than that of her own time.  The respect she receives through the other characters in the text reveals this fact.  For instance, her mentor or sorts, Lady Fairlaw is so intrigued by Philadelphia’s virtue that upon dying she told her husband, “that she had observ’d he had a particular Esteem or Kindness for Philadelphia; which was now a great Satisfaction to her; since she assur’d, that if he marry’d her, she would prove an excellent Nurse to him, and prolong his Life by some Years” (Behn 57).  Giving Counsellor Fairlaw the blessing of marrying Philadelphia discloses the fact that Lady Fairlaw confidently believes Philadelphia is innocent and pure. As the story ends Philadelphia’s virtue is rewarded with wealth, honor and power when Counsellor Fairlaw dies.  It is soon after revealed that her brother is struggling, having incurred debts during their time apart.  Philadalphia pays off his debts despite his selfishness exhibited throughout the text.

Katherine Philips is considered one of the best reknown and most respected female poets of the 18th century. Philips married at a very young age and married a much older man. She initially wrote small poems about domestic issues and relationships; she did not intend to publish these literary works. Philips tends to write on the double standards women face in society and their daily lives. Last semester our 18th century class focused on Philips’ “The Virgin” and “Parting with Lucasia, A Song”. The poems this week reflection the same tone towards men and their intent.  “Against Love” Philips looks at a male’s love from a female point of view.  In describing love, Philips uses words such as cheating toys and shackles. She says: “Men’s weakness makes Love so severe” (6). Philips takes a more figurative approach and often personifies love as seen in the first line where she gives love the name, Cupid. In Philips’ “To One Persuading A Lady to Marriage” is from what I interpret it as a woman who is getting married. My favorite lines in this poem is when she writes: “Think how you did amiss/ To strive to fix her beams which are /More bright and large than his” (14-16). Philips’ is presenting the idea that a marriage is supposed to fix a woman and settle her down into a household or a domestic role but the woman in this poem shines brighter and his larger, metaphorically speaking, than her perspective husband. I really enjoy Katherine Philip’s poems.

I love how this video there is a Texas Chainsaw massacre poster in the background!


This entry was posted on February 16, 2012. 2 Comments