Thesis Title: Scientific Signification and the Gendered Formulation of Alchemical Poetics in Early Modern Women's Writing, c. 1611-1679
Supervisor: Lorna Hutson
Research Interests: Early modern women's writing, friendship discourse, science and alchemy in the seventeenth century, theories of matter.
Doctoral Research: My research examines scientific signification and alchemical imagery in the work of female writers active in between 1611 and 1679: Aemilia Lanyer, Hester Pulter, Katherine Philips and Margaret Cavendish. I interrogate the ways in which alchemy’s critically acknowledged emphasis on rendering the fixed volatile, on bringing into harmony disparate and conflicting elements, and its historic roots in the reworking of habits of thought, were exploited by early modern women writers as a distinct group. I contend that these emphases formed the basis of a gendered formulation of alchemical poetics which responded to and reworked the alchemical imagery used by their male predecessors and contemporaries.