First Advisor

Sarah Ensor

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) in English and University Honors




Katherine Philips (1632-1664) -- Criticism and interpretation, English poetry -- Early modern (1500-1700) -- Criticism and interpretation




Recent critics in early modern poetry, women’s literature, and queer studies have attempted to factor Katherine Philips’s friendship poetry into a history of homoerotic suspicion. Her metaphysical poems have been offered as a publically significant, potential erotics of textual, rather than physical, embodiment. This thesis responds by returning to the significance of the in-significance of textual representations of feminine erotics, as well as to earlier criticism of Philips as a poet of non-public life and chastity. An examination of notions of innocence in Philips’s configurations of friendship highlights an excess of innocence and a passion predicated on exception, restraint, and impossibility. Attention to Philips’s peculiar complicity with early modern misogynist discourses asks: what formulations of suspicion are activated by Philips, and the discourses themselves, rather than by our histories?


In Copyright. URI: This Item is protected by copyright and/or related rights. You are free to use this Item in any way that is permitted by the copyright and related rights legislation that applies to your use. For other uses you need to obtain permission from the rights-holder(s).

Persistent Identifier