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Other British Voices: Women, Poetry, and Religion, 1766–1840 introduces four women—Mary Steele (1753–1813), Mary Scott (1751–93), Jane Attwater (1753–1843), and Elizabeth Coltman (1761–1838)— who exemplify a tradition of nonconformist women writers that began in the middle of the seventeenth century with Anne Bradstreet (1612–72) and flourished in the poetry and prose of Elizabeth Singer Rowe (1674–1737), Anne Dutton (1691/92–1765), and Anne Steele (1717–78). The last poet became the titular head of a circle of women writers (mostly from the West Country of England) that began in the 1740s and continued for more than a century. Anne and Mary Steele and their friends within the Steele circle (some 20 women writers) emerged from two Calvinist denominations (Particular Baptists and Independents) that in the eighteenth century were more representative of the heart of British nonconformity than Quakers, Methodists, or Unitarians. Drawing from the richness and diversity of nonconformist culture, the women of Other British Voices made significant contributions to the canon of women’s writings between 1766 and 1840 through the quality of their poetry and prose, the depth of their friendships, and the breadth of their life writings.
KeywordsEighteenth Century Female Friendship Woman Writer Literary Circle Masculine Form
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