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Collins, An


Subject Literature » Renaissance Literature

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405194495.2012.x


Nothing is known about An Collins beyond her sole work, Divine songs and meditacions composed by An Collins , which was published in London by R. Bishop in 1653. Collins is a common surname in early modern England, and the name An was thought to be a variant on Anne, Ann, or Anna, or an article serving in lieu of a name. Critics today agree that the afore-mentioned An is a woman who was childless and in middle age when the book was sent to the printer. From her childhood on, Collins was ill. Her chronic sickness plays a large part in her turning to God in hopes of overcoming her mental and physical suffering. This same sickness kept her from performing conventional forms of female labour, which led to her writing theological meditation in poetic form. The small octavo volume of Divine songs at the Huntington Library is the only version of the verses available. Since she is largely unmentioned in the works of other seventeenth-century writers, the autobiographical information we have comes from her own prose, in ‘To the reader’ and the metrical ‘Preface’ and ‘Discourse’. Most of what we know is that she lived a life of pain, and that her pain led her to writing. We can read Collins's gender in the text itself. On the first page of the ‘Discourse’ she writes, ‘You that indeared are to pietie … / Dain to survay her works that worthlesse seem.’ Collins offers four reasons for her ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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