Articulating Community and Constructing the Church in the Manuscript Writings of Lucy Hutchinson (1620-1681)

Wall, Anna (2021) Articulating Community and Constructing the Church in the Manuscript Writings of Lucy Hutchinson (1620-1681). Doctoral thesis, University of East Anglia.

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This thesis offers the first study of ecclesiology in the manuscript writings of Lucy Hutchinson (1620-1681). I argue that we can gain a new understanding of Hutchinson as a writer by focusing on the various ways in which she articulated associative practices. She did not write purely for her own spiritual benefit but imagined a context in which her manuscripts would intervene. Thus, this project asks three key questions: 1) How did Hutchinson transform her theological reading into her own expressions of ecclesiastical association? 2) How does the form and content of each text reflect the various contexts in which Hutchinson articulated her nonconformist ecclesiology? And 3) How far did the distinct forms of women’s textual and material cultures facilitate Hutchinson’s participation in the ecclesiastical debates of seventeenth-century England?

I am the first to give a comprehensive account of Hutchinson’s career across the seventeenth century from the Royalist miscellany of her youth to her final published poem, Order and Disorder (1679). I argue that Hutchinson did not transform into a different kind of writer following the Restoration. Rather, we can trace continuities between her texts across the century. Furthermore, her later texts are not monolithic in their expressions of dissent; Hutchinson’s ecclesiastical commitments were constantly developing, and she articulated different, and at times contradictory, notions of the church. In this thesis, I also posit a more precise dating and chronology for Hutchinson’s post-1660 texts. Through this we can gain a clearer sense of the tensions within her own ecclesiastical convictions and explore how Hutchinson’s texts were shaped by a precise, and determinable, set of socio-cultural influences. This study of Hutchinson’s distinct articulations of God’s Church, thus, helps to uncover the multifaceted and truly reactive nature of late-seventeenth-century nonconformity.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Arts and Humanities > School of Literature and Creative Writing
Depositing User: Chris White
Date Deposited: 05 Jul 2022 14:22
Last Modified: 05 Jul 2022 14:22

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