Anne Clifford Criticism - Essay

Victoria Sackville-West (essay date 1923)

(Literary Criticism (1400-1800))

SOURCE: Sackville-West, Victoria. “Introductory Note: A brief account of the life of Lady Anne Clifford Countess of Dorset, Pembroke, & Montgomery, 1590-1676.” In The Diary of the Lady Anne Clifford, pp. ix-lvi. New York: George H. Doran Company, 1923.

[In the following essay, Sackville-West presents background details about Clifford and her family and then attempts to reconstruct the diarist's character from the records she left.]


Lady Anne Clifford was born at the sturdy little Norman castle of Skipton in Craven in the year 1590, the only daughter of George Clifford, third Earl of Cumberland, and his wife Margaret Russell. Lord...

(The entire section is 9459 words.)

Martin Holmes (essay date 1975)

(Literary Criticism (1400-1800))

SOURCE: Holmes, Martin. “The Old Waste Places.” In Proud Northern Lady: Lady Anne Clifford, 1590-1676, pp. 159-68. London: Phillimore, 1975.

[In the following excerpt from his full-length study of Clifford, Holmes discusses some of the details from Clifford's later years as noted in her unfinished autobiography, a work that, unlike her diary, is not a spontaneous expression of feeling but a selection of facts recorded long after the events had taken place.]

The castle's gently render'd

Macbeth, V, vii

In 1652 Lady Anne started an autobiography based on her memories, diaries and other documents. For many years she had...

(The entire section is 3643 words.)

R. T. Spence (essay date 1979)

(Literary Criticism (1400-1800))

SOURCE: Spence, R. T. “Lady Anne Clifford, Countess of Dorset, Pembroke and Montgomery (1590-1676): A Reappraisal.” Northern History XV (1979): 43-65.

[In the following essay, Spence claims that Clifford's biographers have tended to be too uncritical of her, and attempts to present a more rounded picture of Clifford's character and actions. He claims that while she was indeed a remarkable, strong woman, she also adhered to the assumptions of patriarchalism and was thus not a champion of female emancipation.]

More than most of her contemporaries, Lady Anne Clifford has attracted not just the attention but the admiration of historians.1 Indeed there is...

(The entire section is 9579 words.)

D. J. H. Clifford (essay date 1990)

(Literary Criticism (1400-1800))

SOURCE: Clifford, D. J. H. “Introduction and Acknowledgements” and “Prologue.” In The Diaries of Lady Anne Clifford, edited by D. J. H. Clifford, pp. x-xv, 1-18. Wolfeboro Falls, N. H.: Alan Sutton Publishing, Inc., 1990.

[In the following excerpt, Clifford provides a brief overview of the content and composition of Clifford's diaries and offers a detailed discussion of her family background.]

‘It is but seldom that any personage who is not of first class historical importance has succeeded in impressing his or her personality upon a whole countryside or has transmitted, however superficially, a personal tradition through succeeding generations of a rural...

(The entire section is 7975 words.)

Mary Ellen Lamb (essay date 1992)

(Literary Criticism (1400-1800))

SOURCE: Lamb, Mary Ellen. “The Agency of the Split Subject: Lady Anne Clifford and the Uses of Reading.” English Literary Renaissance 22, No. 3 (Autumn 1992): 347-68.

[In the following essay, Lamb discusses Clifford as a “split subject”—an aristocratic heir as well as a woman who refused to be subordinated to male authorities.]

One of the most significant activities of current critics has been the dismantlement of the transcendental or essentialist subject. Despite ideological differences, various orientations, such as Marxism, feminism, cultural materialism, and New Historicism, have seen a presumed political neutrality of the transcendental subject as a...

(The entire section is 8837 words.)

Barbara Kiefer Lewalski (essay date 1993)

(Literary Criticism (1400-1800))

SOURCE: Lewalski, Barbara Kiefer. “Claiming Patrimony and Constructing a Self: Anne Clifford and Her Diary.” In Writing Women in Jacobean England, pp. 125-51. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1993.

[In the following essay, Lewalski argues that Clifford's Diary reveals the relation between writing and resistance, between authoring a text and authoring a self.]

Anne Clifford (1589-1676) provides an instance of sustained public opposition to patriarchal authority and property settlements. Her struggle is recorded in several autobiographical works, among them a fascinating though fragmentary Diary covering the years when she felt herself...

(The entire section is 17270 words.)

Katherine Osler Acheson (essay date 1998)

(Literary Criticism (1400-1800))

SOURCE: Acheson, Katherine Osler. “The Modernity of the Early Modern: The Example of Anne Clifford.” In Discontinuities: New Essays on Renaissance Literature and Criticism, edited by Viviana Comensoli and Paul Stevens, pp. 27-51. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1998.

[In the following essay, Acheson discusses Clifford's writing as an example of the paradoxical nature of modernity. Clifford, Acheson argues, anticipates modernity in her alienation from the present and by using the past to refigure the future.]

Imaginary time is indistinguishable from directions in space. If one can go north, one can turn around and head south; equally, if one...

(The entire section is 10367 words.)

Mihoko Suzuki (essay date 2001)

(Literary Criticism (1400-1800))

SOURCE: Suzuki, Mihoko. “Anne Clifford and the Gendering of History.” CLIO 30, No. 2 (Winter 2001): 195-229.

[In the following essay, Suzuki suggests that in her writings Clifford undermined the dominant ideology of early modern historiography, which “regarded women not as agents of history but as either chaste transmitters of genealogical succession or unruly obstacles to the unfolding of male-centered history.”]

Tyme brings to forgetfullness any memorable thing in this world, bee they never so carefully preserved.

“A Summary of the Records, and a True Memorial of the life of me the Lady Anne...

(The entire section is 13266 words.)