Lucy Hutchinson Conference

November 1, 2013

Lucy Hutchinson: Life Writing, Religion and Politics

St Edmund Hall, Oxford, Thursday 28 November 2013

Lucy Hutchinson is well-known to seventeenth-century historians and literary scholars as the author of Memoirs of the Life of Colonel Hutchinson, a classic biography which sets the momentous life of her husband, a committed Puritan, republican and regicide, against the wider backdrop of the English Civil War and Restoration. The work has been more or less continually in print since it was first published from manuscript in 1806. Only recently, however, has the scale and range of her interests been recognized: like her contemporary – and political rival – Margaret Cavendish, Duchess of Newcastle, Hutchinson aspired to the new European model of the woman intellectual. She engaged with her times in fascinatingly contradictory ways: a pioneering woman author who held with tenacity to the Pauline doctrine of female subordination; a strong opponent of the emergent sceptical Biblical criticism who had herself brought into English Lucretius’ De rerum natura, the most passionate atheistic text of antiquity; a fierce opponent of idolatry who was nonetheless deeply attracted to the world of visual images as well as to the poetic imagination. The climax of her literary career was Order and Disorder, a major Biblical poem on a parallel subject to Milton’s Paradise Lost.

This conference will be the first ever occasion devoted to Hutchinson’s writings. It will bring together many scholars who are working on a new edition of her collected works (http://www.cems-oxford.org/projects/lucy-hutchinson) and others with an interest in seventeenth-century literature, politics and women’s writing. As the second volume of Lucy Hutchinson’s works nears completion, the first-ever conference on Lucy Hutchinson will offer a chance to take stock and look forward. The conference will present work for the second volume that throws new light on Hutchinson’s politico-theological positions, and will also engage with her representation of the Civil War in the Memoirs and with questions of gender and representation in her poetry. Speakers will include Penelope Anderson, Martyn Bennett, Mark Burden, Elizabeth Clarke, Cassie Gorman, Jonathan Gibson, Crawford Gribben, Elaine Hobby, Sarah Hutton, Erica Longfellow, David Norbrook, Elizabeth Scott-Baumann, Mihoko Suzuki, Susan Wiseman, and Blair Worden.

Registration (£30, graduate students £15) at  http://www.cems-oxford.org/conferences/lucy-hutchinson. Inquiries to David Norbrook, david.norbrook@ell.ox.ac.uk.

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