Revolution in a Puritan Lady’s Destiny (on Memoirs of L. Hutchinson)

Publication type Article
Status Published
EditionVolume 5 Issue 6 (29)
AbstractPeriod of the English revolution of the 17th century was reflected in numerous sources of the different types. They were written by people, belonging to different social strata and different political groups. Among the authors, who left the mark in history, a special place belongs to Lucy Hutchinson whose work is well known to anglicists. Title of her work (or rather of several texts, thematically connected) runs like “Memoirs of the colonel Hutchinson, governor of Nottingham, by his widow Lucy”. Memoirs were written in the 1660s, shortly after the death of John Hutchinson, republican colonel, imprisoned by Stuarts government. Mrs. Hutchinson addressed it toward her children, not a wide audience. As early as in the 18th century historians evaluated the significance of this text and asked the heirs to publish it. Memoirs of Lucy Hutchinson were published at the beginning of the 19th century. At the time historians perceived just political element, defense of republicanism, which can be seen in Mrs. Hutchinson’s writing. She was considered as a precursor of the Whig interpretation of history. The main emphasis of this paper will be on gender aspect of the Hutchinson’s texts. The passage, devoted to family history and to childhood of Lucy Apsley (her married name was Hutchinson) included in the memoirs of John Hutchinson, is analysed. This passage was entitled “The Fragment”. It and biography of John Hutchinson give an account of domestic history of English gentry family. Lucy Hutchinson gave a description of three family histories (one Apsley and two Hutchinson generations), relationships between parents and children within the family. Relationship within society, particularly between members of the same social strata, were in warring political factions during the Civil Wars and are shown more schematically. Moreover “Memoirs” by Lucy Hutchinson contains one more interesting aspect. It introduces the reader to value priorities of enlightened puritan woman, who considered her marriage as an ideal nuptial alliance. On the basis of these materials, an author tries to reconstruct mental world of an enlightened puritan facing crude reality of revolutionary times.
KeywordsEuropean Reformation, English Revolution, John Hutchinson, Lucy Hutchinson / Apsley, memoirs, the mental world, family life
Publication date10.11.2014
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