Claudia Kairoff

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This page reflects a scholar's association with the Folger Institute.

Long-term fellowship

with Jennifer Keith

"The Works of Anne Finch: A Critical Edition" (NEH, 2010–2011)

In an era known for the public and political poetry of Dryden, Swift, and Pope, the poet Ann Finch, Countess of Winchilsea (1661–1720), articulated a different literary and political authority. From her position as a female aristocrat, once at the center of the court and then political internal exile, Finch explored the individual’s spiritual condition as inextricable from social and political phenomena. Her interest in affairs of state frequently informed her exposure of patriarchy’s constraints on women and men. Finch’s work is crucial to grounding historically our continuing questions in the humanities, including, how to articulate and connect the domains of governmental politics, personal desires, spiritual ideals, and women’s artistry and experience. Despite her importance, there is no complete scholarly edition of Finch’s work.

To respond to the value of Finch’s works and calls for a scholarly edition, Jennifer Keith and Claudia Kairoff are editing a critical edition of Finch’s complete works—her poems, plays, and correspondence. This two-volume edition will be published by Cambridge University Press in 2013. The Digital Edition can be found here. Of the approximately 230 poems and two plays known to be Finch’s, 112 poems (two of them addressed to her) and both plays appear in the folio manuscript “Miscellany Poems with Two Plays by Ardelia,” housed at the Folger Shakespeare Library (shelf no. N.b. 3).