This article reevaluates Anne Finch's reputation as a poet and considers how, until recently, critics interpreted her poetry according to a romanticized model of lyric: one whose modeling of introspective feeling and a withdrawal from the contemporary world conditions an apolitical understanding of poetic practice. Beginning with an assessment of modern theories of lyric, the article proceeds to trace a history of the construction of Finch as a poetess of lyrical retreat, rather than as one who was forced to retreat from London following the Revolution of 1688. The article then turns to "A Pindarick Poem. Upon the Hurricane in November 1703" to show how, in a moment of personal and national precarity, Finch named her "contemn'd Retreat" as the essential precondition of her poetry. This poem, in turn, reverses the conclusion which historians and theorists of lyric have drawn from her work: that her retreat enabled a lyric practice far removed from her political circumstances.


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pp. 463-480
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