Hester Pulter's elegies for her twenty-year-old daughter Jane (ca. 1645) represent a mother's grief as excessive and expansive. Attention to the materiality of Pulter's manuscript reveals the importance of one of her main motifs—the circle—to her processes of grief and poetic composition. Her Jane poems expose the limitations of cultural ideas about moderate mourning and embrace a gendered style of grieving and parenting that Pulter calls "indulgent," as they insist that maternal elegies can be both emotional and intellectual. Pulter's manuscript shows evidence of her own "indulgent" return to the subject of Jane's death and allows us to read one of her elegies in two stages of its composition. In "Upon the Death of My Dear and Lovely Daughter, J. P.," a nine-line addition transforms a poem about individual loss into a royalist lament. Pulter's Jane elegies are especially salient examples of the way her poems frequently echo and expand upon one another as they play with literary allusion and demonstrate the centrality of recycling and revisiting to her authorial process.


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pp. 43-70
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