The Lucy Hutchinson Conference
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. This work, and a compelling though fragmentary autobiography, have been more or less continually in print since their publication 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, and translated Lucretius’ De rerum natura, the most passionately anti-religious text of antiquity. From a radically different perspective, she later composed Order and Disorder, a major Biblical poem on a parallel subject to Milton'sParadise Lost. Underpinning her later works was an exceptional engagement with contemporary Latin and English theological writings. Many fundamental questions about her life and writings have yet to be addressed, and this will be the first ever conference to discuss them. It will bring together many scholars who are working on a new edition of her collected works and others with an interest in seventeenth-century literature, politics and women’s writing. Speakers will include Penelope Anderson, Martyn Bennett, Mark Burden, Elizabeth Clarke, Alice Eardley, Jonathan Gibson, Crawford Gribben, Erica Longfellow, David Norbrook, Elizabeth Scott-Baumann, and Blair Worden.