Anne Clifford’s memoir for the year 1603 and her diary of 1616-1619 are invaluable records of the daily life and social and family relationships of a noblewoman of her time. In them she records her travels, her reading, her religious observances, her relationships with her mother, her husband, and her child, and the progress—or lack thereof—of her legal efforts to obtain what she viewed as her inheritance, extensive estates in the north of England. The two texts offer a unique view of the life, feelings, experience, and self-fashioning of this extraordinary woman, and they bring to life the history and literary culture of the period in a refreshing and direct way.
This Broadview edition includes an illuminating introduction that places these texts in their historical and literary context. The appendices include poems dedicated and addressed to Clifford, her funeral sermon, and the “Great Picture” of the Clifford family.
“Lady Anne Clifford was a brilliant and powerful figure who successfully challenged the rule of patriarchy in seventeenth-century England, and whose life gives the lie to a whole complex of assumptions about what was possible for women in early modern society. Her diaries and letters, preserved from her youth into old age, show her continuously creating herself. Katharine O. Acheson is an expert and illuminating guide to Clifford’s life and papers.” — Stephen Orgel, Stanford University
“Katherine O. Acheson has produced a valuable edition of the Memoir and Diary of Lady Anne Clifford, texts which offer an unparalleled insight into the literary education and interests, the fraught marital situation, the daily domestic life, the social activities, and the protracted legal struggles over inheritance of a remarkable young noblewoman in Jacobean England. Based on careful examination of the surviving manuscripts, this modernized edition supplies annotations identifying all the persons and events mentioned in the texts, illuminating the familial, social, and political networks within which and against which Clifford acted and wrote. A succinct introduction provides new information about Clifford’s life, and a cogent explanation of her complicated legal claims.” — Barbara K. Lewalski, Harvard University