A preface to an edition of the works of Anne Finch, Countess of Winchilsea



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There has been no study of the complete works of Anne Finch, Countess of Winchilsea and no complete edition of her works. Although this dissertation does not deal with specific editorial matters, it is planned as a prefatory essay to an edition. It examines the entire corpus, including all known poems and the two plays, in a chronological order. Since Anne Finch was a very personal poet, frequently writing about herself and her friends in her verse, knowledge of her life and times enhances a reading of her work. Chapter I reviews the life records and her critical reputation from the eighteenth century to the present. Many of the poems are discussed in light of events in her life. Chapter II covers the poems from her first known work in 1683 while she was at court until 1690 when she settled at the Finch estate in Kent after the Glorious Revolution. Chapter III discusses the two plays, written during this period: The Triumphs of Love and Innocence and Aristomenes. The plays have not been examined in detail before. This chapter discusses sources for the plays and their dramatic value. [...]