About the Project

Complementing the two-volume print edition under contract with Cambridge University Press, The Works of Anne Finch: A Critical Edition, the Anne Finch Digital Archive provides open access to selected materials. Both projects are edited by Jennifer Keith (University of North Carolina at Greensboro) and Claudia Thomas Kairoff (Wake Forest University).

The Digital Site: Featured Poems and Contextual Resources

Materials on the digital site enable readers to explore the archival elements used to construct and analyze Finch’s texts. The featured poems on this site were selected from a great range and number in Finch’s œuvre to illustrate her work in different poetic kinds, including song, fable, biblical paraphrase, translation, verse epistle, and devotional poetry. No less variety will be heard in the poems’ tones and themes. Finch’s work can be warm and generous or discerningly satirical; it is sometimes earnestly devout and at other times full of piquant humor. Her themes include political loyalty, love faithful and unfaithful, suffering, and critiques of gender relations.

For every featured poem, the site includes commentary with embedded links to illustrations, information about composition and printing dates and sources, audio files of the poem read aloud, and source copies showing authorized manuscript and print texts with transcriptions. We will continue to add resources to the site, including recordings of musical performances of the songs that are featured here, interactive resources for users to analyze Finch’s social and literary contexts, and pedagogical approaches to Finch’s work. The multimedia elements of this site reflect the various ways that Finch’s work engaged her contemporary readers and listeners, who knew her work in manuscript, print, or performance, or in all of these forms.

The Print Edition

Scholars of early British poetry and early women writers have repeatedly asked for a critical edition of Finch’s works. The two-volume print edition from Cambridge University Press will establish for the first time an accurate, critical record of all known work by Finch that has survived: more than 230 poems (the number varies depending on how one enumerates different versions of some poems), two plays, and letters. As a critical edition of all of Finch’s works known at this time, the print edition gathers together all relevant print and manuscript materials from libraries and repositories across the U.S. and the U.K., including the Beinecke Library, the William Andrews Clark Library, the Folger Shakespeare Library, the Houghton Library, the Morgan Library, the Wellesley College Special Collections, the Bodleian Library, the British Library, the Northamptonshire Public Records Office, the Rare Book and Manuscript division of the University of Leeds, and the Rare Book and Manuscript division of the University of Nottingham. With the critical edition, readers will finally be able to study the texts’ revisions by Finch and her husband; their circulation in manuscript and print; and their historical, political, and literary contexts.