Anne Kingsmill Finch, Countess of Winchilsea (1661-1720)

To the reader: The original goal of this site was to supplement the only attempt at a complete standard edition of Anne Finch's works: Myra Reynolds's The Poems of Anne, Countess of Winchilsea. Chicago: Univ. of Chicago Press, 1903.

Accordingly, I first present a complete annotated chronology of all the poems written by Anne Finch. From a study of the manuscripts and printed books in which her poems appeared, as well as supplementary materials about her life, I have arranged the citations in the order the poems seem to have been written in. The annotated chronology contains texts by Finch that were published by Reynolds and elsewhere (some partial editions): these are texts where I felt the original text from the manuscript was superior to Reynolds's choice of a later text or another editor's choice of a different text; and where I felt the poem was beautiful, fine, brilliantly satiric or an interesting example of translation or historically important and hoped that the reader would be grateful to have an earlier text (I went to the manuscripts and first editions for these texts).

First Line Index for the Chronology of the Poems

Title Index for the Chronology of the Poems.

So that the reader may also have available the actual texts of the manuscripts and printed books which Finch wrote, and, which, unhappily and luckily Reynolds either did not know of ordid not have access to, I have accompanied this chronology with the texts of all Finch's anonymously-published and unprinted poems:

A significant portion of Anne Finch's poetry is comprised of translations, imitations, and adaptations. This material has never been presented in an edition which showed how these relate to one another, or what are their source texts. I have studied and analyzed much of this material, using either the original source text in a rare book or more recent standard edition, and place it next in a coherent arrangement.

Below the reader has first a complete list of all Anne Finch's translations, adaptations and imitations; this list is followed by the texts of the hard-to-find and unknown sources of Anne Finch's translations. (I have not included those which have beenreprinted in modern standard editions of the authors in question.) The reader will want to know more about the books and manuscripts from which these source texts come so I provide a descriptive bibliography of the books in which the source texts are found.

I also completed a study of how Anne Finch learned her trade by translating other poets, and include my essay on the relationship of her translated to her original poetry, together with a small study or essay I wrote on one of her fables (in the form of a 2 postings to a listserv) and a bibliography of translation studies.

The reader will probably want to know about Finch's life. Much of her poetry is autobiographical and rooted in her personal experience. I, therefore, include the first half of unfinished literary biography of Anne Finch, I On Myself Can Live. The second half of her life I dealt with in a narrative interspersed with poetry, Apollo's Muse. I was commissioned to write this narrative by a group of professional baroque musicians and so provide information about their work.

I complete this supplement to Myra Reynolds's edition with a complete list of the main relevant sources I have used for my work on Anne Finch. I follow this with a history of the anthologizing of Anne Finch's poetry. If the reader is interested in seeing the notes I used when I went through all the manuscripts and printed sources I used when I made my annotated bibliography, I provide a raw checklist of these materials.

An addendum:

While I was working on all the above material, which I conceived of as towards a new complete edition of Anne Finch's work, I wrote a 30 page essay comparing the poetry of Anne Finch to that of Mary Wortley Montagu. I sent it to a journal which specialized in English literature at the University of Warwick. The reader praised my paper, but thought I had materials for a book-length study, and suggested I would do best to turn my paper into a book. Instead I cut it and sent it to a feminist journal, Atlantis, which declined to publish it. The editor did not like the attitudes I was endorsing: she denied these were feminist as she understood the term. It is not unfair to say her remarks were venomous. So I lengthened it again and instead of making what I had into chapters of a book, I wrote a single long comparative essay, but did not try to publish the essay in a journal again.

Recently for a conference paper I went back to this comparison and attempted to defend the intense melancholy and bitterness in the poetry of Finch and Montagu by placing two of their epilogues and some of their poetry in the context of popular punitive stories featuring sexually-transgressive heroines and the way actresses portrayed these heroines on the stage.

I conclude this section of my website with these two papers.

Painting Afternoon (The Game of Backgammon), (1739), from The Four Times of Day by Nicolas Lancret (1690-1743)

Page Last Updated 3 February 2006