This anthology is a project of an undergraduate seminar class in the Department of English, at the University of Saskatchewan. The participants were Brecken Hancock, Kristen Kenyon, Annette Lapointe, Joan Morrison, Barbara Palmer, and Lawrene Toews. The project began, in part, as a response to my frustrated search for a modest and inexpensive anthology of writing by some of the seventeenth-century women who have recently come to occupy positions of some prominence in our curriculum. These poets, increasingly well represented in individual editions and in substantial collections of women's writing, are still poorly represented in the large standard teaching anthologies dedicated, ostensibly, to providing a wide selection of the period's literary output. Our aim, then, was to produce a readable selection of poems by four important poets, Margaret Cavendish, Duchess of Newcastle, Aemilia Lanyer, Katherine Philips, and Lady Mary Wroth, which could be inexpensively reproduced for classroom use. We invite other scholars, students and teachers, to reproduce our work for their own use, provided appropriate acknowledgement of the editors is made.

           The editorial principles governing our work are conservative, though not properly scholarly. For ease of reading we have modernized i, u, v, and j. Otherwise, we have retained the punctuation and spelling of the copy texts throughout. Our selection of copy texts was, unfortunately, a somewhat arbitrary matter. Given the time constraints of a four-month course, and the need to rely on readily accessible materials, we decided not to collate textual variants, and simply selected the available microfilm copy of the first printed edition of each volume as our copy text. This procedure is especially problematic in the case of Katherine Philips, where the unauthorized edition of 1664 was quickly superseded by the posthumous 1667 edition, prepared by the poet's friend Sir Charles Cottrell. The 1664 edition is, however, remarkably good for a pirated text, and we have used the 1667 edition to correct omissions and to supply some additional poems.

                                                                                                                    Ron Cooley

 E-mail Ron Cooley at
 University of Saskatchewan
 Department of English
 Revised June 4, 1998