Mary Leapor (1722-1746), a Northamptonshire kitchen maid, produced a substantial body of exceptional poetry which was only published after her early death at the age of twenty-four. This is a timely examination of the work of a poet who has remained almost forgotten for 200 years. Leapor is one of many gifted poets, mainly women and laborers, whose work stands outside the traditional canon of eighteenth-century verse. Richard Greene draws on extensive primary research to present substantial new information about Leapor's life. He discusses her protests against the injustices suffered by women and the poor, her attempts to gain an education, and the influence that illness and the expectation of an early death had upon her writing. Throughout, Leapor is seen in relation to both the mainstream poets of her time and to those whom literary history has consigned to obscurity. Mary Leapor: A Study in Eighteenth-Century Women's Poetry provides insight not only into the work of one neglected woman poet, but offers a sometimes surprising perspective on the literary history of the "Ages of Pope and Johnson."
`In this thoughtful and comprehensive study, Greene sifts through the evidence concerning her life and the cultural context of her writing with scholarly care ... Greene's valuable work shows how much can be gained from studying a "marginal" poet in her relationship with the canonical "mainstream".'
Times Higher Education Supplement
`a compellingly readable account ... Greene painstakingly assembles whatever information he can obtain from historical records ... He provides absorbing circumstantial detail.'
`admirable study ... the heart of the book lies in two very substantial chapters in which he considers her first as a woman writer and then as a labouring poet.'
B.J. 18th C Studies