Anne Clifford's autobiographical writing, 1590–1676

Edited by Jessica L. Malay

Anne Clifford's autobiographical writing, 1590–1676


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  • eBook

Book Information

  • Format: Paperback
  • ISBN: 978-1-5261-1788-5
  • Pages: 336
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
  • Price: £19.99
  • Published Date: January 2018
  • BIC Category: HISTORY / Modern / 17th Century, BIOGRAPHY & AUTOBIOGRAPHY / Historical, United Kingdom, Great Britain, Social & cultural history, Gender studies: women & girls, Early 17th century c 1600 to c 1650, Society & social sciences / Gender studies: women, History, United Kingdom, Great Britain, Humanities / Early modern history: c 1450/1500 to c 1700, Autobiography: Historical, Political & Military, Autobiography: historical, political & military, HISTORY / Europe / Great Britain, BIOGRAPHY & AUTOBIOGRAPHY / Women


Anne Clifford (1590-1676) was a prominent noble woman in the seventeenth century. During her long life she experienced the courts of Elizabeth, James and Charles I. She fought a decades long battle to secure her inheritance of the Clifford lands of the north, providing a spirited and legally robust defense of her rights despite the opposition of powerful men, including James I. She eventually inherited the Clifford lands, and she describes her subsequent struggles to reclaim her authority in these lands still mired in the civil wars. Her autobiographies reveal her joys and griefs within a vivid description of seventeenth-century life. They reveal a personality that was vulnerable and determined; charitable and canny. Her autobiographies provide a window into a vibrant world of seventeenth-century life as lived by this complex and intriguing seventeenth-century woman.


'The edition succeeds in rendering the text of the Great Books far more accessible than hitherto, and so represents a significant milestone in the study of the manuscripts created under the countess's direction. Professor Malay's hope that it 'will encourage greater interest in and scholarship on Anne Clifford' will surely be realised.'
David X. Carpenter, University of Oxford, EHR, February 2018

'Anne Clifford's Autobiographical Writing, 1590-1676, Jessica Malay's newest contribution to Anne Clifford Studies, is a much-needed, comprehensive edition of Clifford's extensive autobiographical corpus, as well as a perfect complement to Malay's 201 edition of Anne Clifford's Great Books of Record. Clifford is a familiar name among scholars of early modern Englishwomen's life writing in part because of the sheer amount she produced. Clifford developed a complex, interconnected system of self-accounting that involved daily diary-like entries, yearly memoirs and biographical narratives about family members past and present that worked in tandem with her antiquarian projects and legal battles. Indeed, nearly all of her labor - textual and otherwise - contributed to her lengthy, and ultimately successful, quest to gain what she believed to be her rightful inheritance (extensive properties that her father, George Clifford, 3rd Earl of Cumberland, had designated to his brother instead). But Clifford continued to record the events of her and her family members' lives long after she secured here inheritance in 1643 and, indeed, right up to the day before she died. Clifford's life writing demonstrates a woman's agency in action, provides a snapshot of antiquarian trends and techniquest in seventeenth-century England, sheds lights on elite English culture during this period, and contributes to ongoing conversations about the nature of auto/biography in early modern England.'
Julie A. Eckerle, University of Minnesota, Morris, Early Modern Women Journal, Vol. 13, No. 2, Spring 2019

'These memoirs, and the diary and daybook that bookend Malay's well-edited and annotated volume, will be invaluable to scholars and students of the period looking for a window into a remarkable life and the deliberate acts of autobiographical preservation-both literary and material-that memorialize that life.'
Seventeenty-Century News


1 The Lady Anne Clifford's Memoir, 1603
2 Countess of Dorset's Diary, 1616, 1617 and 1619
3 The Life of Me the Lady Anne Clifford, 1589-1649
4 The Lady of the North, Yearly Memoirs, 1650-75
5 Countess of Pembroke's Daybook, 1676


Jessica L. Malay is Professor of English Renaissance Literature at the University of Huddersfield

Anne Clifford's autobiographical writing, 1590–1676

Edited by Jessica L. Malay

Paperback £19.99 / $29.95

Hardcover £80.00 / $120.00

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