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Izaak Walton, Lucy Hutchinson, and the Experience of Civil War

  • John M. Adrian
Part of the Early Modern Literature in History book series (EMLH)

Abstract

George Herbert’s death in 1633 prevented him from seeing the further erosion of middle ground — not only in the Church, but in other aspects of political, religious, and social life. Within a decade, England was plunged into civil war. The English Civil War was fundamentally a national event. Unlike, say, the Wars of the Roses, it was waged in every county and involved people from all levels of society. Moreover, it was fought primarily in order to arbitrate national issues like the proper relationship between King and Parliament and the ideal form that the state Church should take. Although there were many answers to these questions, only one vision could prevail at any given time — which is precisely why the stakes were so high. The Civil War also forced people in the provinces to think nationally. In many cases, they had to pick a side or at least play a role in events that they didn’t necessarily seek out.

Keywords

National Event Local Place English Nationhood National Affair Local Sphere 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Notes

  1. 2.
    For more on Parliamentary retreat during the 1650s — particularly amongst the Presbyterian gentry — see J. T. Cliffe, Puritans in Conflict: The Puritan Gentry During and After the Civil Wars (New York: Routledge, 1988), 180–183.Google Scholar
  2. 3.
    Izaak Walton, The Compleat Angler (New York: Modern Library, 1937), 38. All citations of Walton are from this edition, with subsequent page numbers provided parenthetically within the text. The Angler was originally published in 1653, but was expanded significantly for a second edition in 1655. The third (1661) and fourth (1668) editions contain only minor alterations, but the fifth and final edition (1676) published in Walton’s lifetime has substantial changes. Since the first three editions are not readily accessible to modern readers, I have chosen the Modern Library (4th) edition rather than the more commonly reprinted 5th edition because the former is basically a 1650s text while the latter is more of a Restoration text. For a complete textual history of these seventeenth-century editions, see John R. Cooper, The Art of The Compleat Angler (Durham: Duke University Press, 1968), 166–184.Google Scholar
  3. 5.
    Jonquil Bevan, Izaak Walton’s The Compleat Angler: The Art of Recreation (Brighton: Harvester Press, 1988), 21. Steven Zwicker makes a similar claim that the book is ‘an act of self-definition and consolation for the exiled and sequestered community of Stuart loyalists.’ ‘Hunting and Angling: The Compleat Angler and The First Anniversary,’ in Lines of Authority: Politics and English Literary Culture, 1649–1689 (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1993), 64.Google Scholar
  4. 7.
    B. D. Greenslade, ‘The Compleat Angler and the Sequestered Clergy,’ Review of English Studies 5:20 (Oct. 1954): 361–366.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 8.
    Earl Miner, The Cavalier Mode from Jonson to Cotton (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1971), 44–45, 304–305.Google Scholar
  6. 14.
    Izaak Walton, The Compleat Angler, ed. John Buxton (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2008), 342.Google Scholar
  7. 15.
    Marjorie Swann, ‘The Compleat Angler and the Early Modern Culture of Collecting,’ English Literary Renaissance 37:1 (Winter 2007), 100.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 19.
    P. G. Stanwood, Izaak Walton (New York: Twayne, 1998), 64–65.Google Scholar
  9. 22.
    Allan Pritchard, English Biography in the Seventeenth Century: A Critical Survey (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2005), 80–81. Walton’s biography of Donne is the exception since ‘Donne was entirely urban in his tastes and had refused rural preferments when they were offered him’ (86).Google Scholar
  10. 23.
    Ibid., 81.Google Scholar
  11. 27.
    Izaak Walton, The Lives of John Donne, Sir Henry Wotton, Richard Hooker, George Herbert, & Robert Sanderson, ed. S. B. Carter (London: Falcon, 1951). In subsequent citations, page numbers are provided in the text.Google Scholar
  12. 34.
    David Hill Radcliffe, ‘“Study to be quiet”: Genre and Politics in Izaak Walton’s Compleat Angler,’ English Literary Renaissance 22:1 (1992), 97.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. 38.
    N. H. Keeble, ‘Introduction’ to Memoirs of the Life of Colonel Hutchinson (Rutland, VT: Charles E. Tuttle, 1995), xx. All citations of Hutchinson are from this Everyman’s Library edition that is based on the original manuscript held in the Brewhouse Yard Museum in Nottingham. Subsequent page numbers are given in parentheses within the text.Google Scholar
  14. 40.
    In considering the narrative content of the Memoirs in its own right, my analysis will supplement the recent critical focus on Hutchinson’s status as a woman writer. See, for instance: David Norbrook, ‘“But a Copie”: Textual Authority and Gender in Editions of The Life of John Hutchinson,’ in New Ways of Looking at Old Texts, III, ed. W. Speed Hill (Tempe, AZ: Arizona Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies, 2004), 109–130; Susan Wiseman, Conspiracy and Virtue: Women, Writing, and Politics in Seventeenth-Century England (New York: Oxford University Press, 2006), 179–233; Paul Salzman, Reading Early Modern Women’s Writing (New York: Oxford University Press, 2006), 135–175; Sharon Cadman Seelig, Autobiography and Gender in Early Modern Literature: Reading Women’s Lives, 1600–1680 (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2006), 73–89.Google Scholar
  15. 46.
    Such evidence, even allowing for Lucy Hutchinson’s subjectivity in labeling the Parliamentary side as the party of peace, seems to lend support to John Morrill’s claim that many people across England were hesitant to get involved on either side. Revolt in the Provinces: The People of England and the Tragedies of War, 1630–1648, 2nd edn. (New York: Longman, 1999), 132–151.Google Scholar
  16. 50.
    Robert Mayer sees these dilations as helping to establish Lucy Hutchinson’s narrative authority and setting a ‘pattern that she follows throughout the text, alternating between the narrative of her husband’s life and an account of the larger events of which his (and her) life formed a part.’ ‘Lucy Hutchinson: A Life in Writing,’ Seventeenth Century 22 (2007), 320, 314. But the space that she devotes to them as well as the qualifiers with which she introduces them seem to support Susan Cook’s assertion that ‘Lucy’s intentions for these interludes, though, are always to explain them in terms of footnotes to her husband’s history.’ ‘“The Story I Most Particularly Intend”: The Narrative Style of Lucy Hutchinson,’ Critical Survey 5:3 (1993), 274.Google Scholar
  17. 59.
    For further analysis on these factors, see Keeble’s note on p. 361. For more on the antagonism between rural gentry (the Hutchinsons) and urban elites (the Committee) that may have contributed to the Colonel’s difficulties, see David Norbrook, ‘“Words more than civil”: Republican Civility in Lucy Hutchinson’s “The Life of John Hutchinson”,’ in Early Modern Civil Discourses, ed. Jennifer Richards (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2003), 68–84.Google Scholar
  18. 64.
    According to Keeble, Lucy Hutchinson’s emphasis on these pursuits is also part of her argument that her husband exceeds the Royalist gentlemen ‘in precisely those accomplishments upon which Royalists prided themselves, which, indeed, they supposed distinguished their Cavalier culture from the vulgarity of all rebels and fanatics’ (xxii). For more on John Hutchinson’s art collecting — including his purchase of paintings from Charles I’s dispersed royal collection — see Linda Levy Peck, Consuming Splendor: Society and Culture in Seventeenth-Century England (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2005), 268–269.Google Scholar
  19. 70.
    Although the religious claim that God calls people to specific tasks is not strictly a Puritan one, William Haller shows how it galvanized the Puritan movement and ‘gave … to the general doctrine of God’s calling a definite application.’ The Rise of Puritanism (New York: Harper Torchbooks, 1957), 124.Google Scholar
  20. 71.
    Alexandra Walsham, ‘The Godly and Popular Culture,’ in The Cambridge Companion to Puritanism, ed. John Coffey and Paul C. H. Lim (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2008), 282.Google Scholar
  21. 72.
    Ibid., 282.Google Scholar
  22. 73.
    Hutchinson’s characterization is typical of the seventeenth-century Puritan autobiographer, who is ‘likely to be exclusively focused on those aspects of life which he takes to be directly relevatory of God’s mercies.’ Joan Webber, The Eloquent ‘I’: Style and Self in Seventeenth-Century Prose (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1968), 13. The Autobiography, or ‘The Life of Mrs. Lucy Hutchinson, Written by Herself,’ is a manuscript fragment that was included in the first published edition of the Memoirs (1806) but is no longer extant. In Keeble’s edition, it only runs to about thirteen pages.Google Scholar
  23. 74.
    Lucy Hutchinson’s preoccupation with the relevance of ‘little things’ can also be seen in her engagement with Lucretian philosophy — she translated the entire De rerum natura in the 1640s and 1650s — and its commitment to the materiality of even those things we cannot see. See Jonathan Goldberg, ‘Lucy Hutchinson Writing Matter,’ English Literary History 73 (2006): 275–301.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. 76.
    N. H. Keeble, ‘Puritanism and Literature,’ in The Cambridge Companion to Puritanism, ed. Coffey and Lim, 313. On self-examination as a basic feature of Puritan religion, see Owen C. Watkins, The Puritan Experience (London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1972), 9–12. On the formative role of conscience in the life and ministry of John Bunyan, a famed Puritan contemporary of the Hutchinsons, see Richard Greaves, John Bunyan and English Non-conformity (London: Hambledon Press, 1992), 70.Google Scholar

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© John M. Adrian 2011

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  • John M. Adrian

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