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Esther Kearney

Languages and Literature, University of Nottingham

Thesis title:

Recovering Lost Female Voices: Gender, Theology and Politics in Lucy Hutchinson's Order and Disorder

My research interest is in seventeenth-century women’s literature, specifically that pertaining to the author Lucy Hutchinson. However, my thesis intends to feature a variety of other women writers including Margaret Cavendish, Mary Astell, and Brilliana Conway. I am particularly interested in political and theological works as well as book history and the relationship between manuscript and print. Lucy Hutchinson is an example of a writer who circulated her works in both formats with an unknown quantity of her corpus missing as a result. In comparison to her male contemporaries such as John Milton (whom she shared a patron with) and Thomas Hobbes, the true extent of Lucy Hutchinson’s corpus has only started to be patched back together in the late twentieth/early twenty-first century. This is a topic that I am keen to explore further to help contextualize women’s works and research the ways in which they managed to circumnavigate these issues. 

Research Area

  • Languages and Literature


  • '"Glowing with Imagination and Power": Dystopia and Female Creative Agency in Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein (1818) and Margaret Cavendish’s The Blazing World (1666)' at the Romantic Reputations Symposium on Friday the 16th of April 2020, in association with Midlands4Cities, the University of Nottingham's Romanticism Reading Group, and the University of Birmingham's Nineteenth-Century Centre. 

Public Engagement & Impact

  • In November 2020 I contributed to Nottinghamshire Archive’s ‘Explore Your Heritage Project’ by producing a pre-recorded presentation for the general public on Lucy Hutchinson whose works are housed there. 

Other Research Interests

  • Early Modern Literature
  • Women Writers in the Seventeenth-Century 
  • Manuscript and Print Culture
  • Commonplace Books