About the Project

Complementing the two-volume print edition The Cambridge Edition of the Works of Anne Finch, Countess of Winchilsea, edited by Jennifer Keith with Claudia Thomas Kairoff, the Anne Finch Digital Archive provides open access to selected materials. Both projects are edited by Jennifer Keith with Claudia Thomas Kairoff.

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

Volume 1- Early Manuscript Books- of The Cambridge Edition of the Works of Anne Finch, Countess of Winchilsea is now available.

Volume 1: Early Manuscript Books establishes the texts of works in Finch's early manuscript books: the Northamptonshire Manuscript and the Folger Manuscript, which holds her two surviving plays. Volume 1 provides, for the first time in print, reconstructions of obliterated poems in the Northamptonshire Manuscript. Using Finch’s manuscripts as copy-texts, Volume 1 provides a fresh view of many works that have been previously known only as they were revised in Finch’s 1713 print volume. Because the entire Folger Manuscript is presented in its original order, modern readers can finally consider these works as they were encountered by readers in Finch’s manuscript network. This first volume includes an essay evaluating previous claims that have attributed to Finch works lying outside of her authorized collections.

Volume 2: Later Collections, Print and Manuscript will be available in fall 2020. Volume 2 establishes the texts of works in Finch’s later collections in print and manuscript. All of the works in her authorized print volume – Miscellany Poems, on Several Occasions (1713) – that do not appear in Volume 1 with her early manuscript books are included in Volume 2. The Wellesley Manuscript, presented in its entirety, is accompanied by detailed textual and explanatory notes informed by new research. The purpose of the Wellesley Manuscript is considered anew in light of plans recorded by Finch’s husband for an expanded print publication of her work. Volume 2 also includes Finch’s uncollected poems and letters, some of which are printed for the first time. A detailed essay traces the history of her works’ reception and transmission.

As a scholarly 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 this scholarly edition, readers will finally be able to study the texts’ revisions by Finch; their circulation in manuscript and print; and their historical, political, and literary contexts.