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Mary Leapor and the Poem as Meeting Place

Mary Leapor and the Poem as Meeting Place Jessica Cook University of South Florida In the library of Weston Hall in Northamptonshire, there are three sets of Mary Leapor's poems, including one with the following annotation on its title page: "Once Kitchen maid at Weston."1 The handwriting on the page is a material reminder of the physical presence of both the book's owner and author. Leapor is given an embodied form, one that labored within the country house that now holds her poetry. The book itself belonged to Susanna Jennens, who owned Weston Hall while Leapor worked there, and she became the poet's friend as well as her employer. Richard Greene identifies Jennens as one of the main supporters of Leapor's poetic ambitions and suggests that she gave Leapor access to her library.2 In this sense, the annotation in the book also acts as a reminder that Leapor once occupied the same physical space that now holds her book. Jennens occasionally wrote poetry herself, and Weston Hall's library includes a portfolio of verses written by her and other female friends.3 The library's manuscript collection also contains transcripts of both Lady Mary Wortley Montagu's and Mary Astell's poems on the death of Eleanor Bowes.4 Jennens was a http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png The Eighteenth Century University of Pennsylvania Press

Mary Leapor and the Poem as Meeting Place

The Eighteenth Century , Volume 57 (3) – Nov 4, 2016

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Publisher
University of Pennsylvania Press
Copyright
Copyright © 2010 University of Pennsylvania Press.
ISSN
1935-0201
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Abstract

Jessica Cook University of South Florida In the library of Weston Hall in Northamptonshire, there are three sets of Mary Leapor's poems, including one with the following annotation on its title page: "Once Kitchen maid at Weston."1 The handwriting on the page is a material reminder of the physical presence of both the book's owner and author. Leapor is given an embodied form, one that labored within the country house that now holds her poetry. The book itself belonged to Susanna Jennens, who owned Weston Hall while Leapor worked there, and she became the poet's friend as well as her employer. Richard Greene identifies Jennens as one of the main supporters of Leapor's poetic ambitions and suggests that she gave Leapor access to her library.2 In this sense, the annotation in the book also acts as a reminder that Leapor once occupied the same physical space that now holds her book. Jennens occasionally wrote poetry herself, and Weston Hall's library includes a portfolio of verses written by her and other female friends.3 The library's manuscript collection also contains transcripts of both Lady Mary Wortley Montagu's and Mary Astell's poems on the death of Eleanor Bowes.4 Jennens was a

Journal

The Eighteenth CenturyUniversity of Pennsylvania Press

Published: Nov 4, 2016

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