‘I wish the child, I call my own’: [Pro]Creative Experience in the Poetry of Jane Cave Winscom

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Abstract

I wish the child, I call my own,

A soul that would adorn a throne!

With keen sensations, soft, refin’d,

A noble, but an humble mind.1

Jane Cave Winscom’s ‘To My Dear Child’ imagines a child, as yet unborn, with descriptions that are as pregnant as the poem’s speaker, and represents one of the author’s ‘birth poems’. These poems, of which I define there to be six (‘Written a few Hours before the Birth of a Child’, ‘The Author’s Address to her first Child previous to its Birth [‘My Dear Child’]’, ‘To My Child, If A Son’, ‘To My Child, If A Daughter [Including a Letter]’, ‘Written a Month after the Birth of the Author’s Son’ and ‘On the Death of Mrs Blake, who died in Child-Bed [of her sixth Child]’), cover issues including maternal health and mortality, infant care and childhood guidance.2 As a collective these poems capture a strong sense of the importance of reproduction as a cultural concept in the late eighteenth century and require further exploration in order to offer a full depiction of how the creative identity of a female writer may have been affected by any procreative experiences. This chapter aims to offer specific insight into the work of Jane Cave Winscom, a female poet whose work has often been overlooked in examinations of eighteenth-century women’s verse.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationVoice and context in Eighteenth-Century verse
Subtitle of host publicationorder in variety
EditorsJoanna Fowler, Allan Ingram
Place of PublicationLondon
PublisherPalgrave
Chapter9
Pages155-172
Number of pages17
ISBN (Electronic)9781137487636
ISBN (Print)9781137487629, 9781349580293
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2015

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