The Works of Lucy Hutchinson


This page provides:

  1. detailed information about the most significant outcome of the CEMS Lucy Hutchinson Project: the first collected edition of The Works of Lucy Hutchinson, published in four volumes by Oxford University Press.
  2. notes on the contributors to the four volumes, and its editors.

The first volume of Hutchinson's Works, The Translation of Lucretius, was published in 2011 and the second volume, Theological Writings and Translations, was published in 2018.

The remaining volumes will consist of her Memoirs of the Life of John Hutchinson (Volume 3), and her other poems, including Order and Disorder (Volume 4):


Volume 1: The Translation of Lucretius

Edited by Reid Barbour and David Norbrook; Latin text edited by Maria Cristina Zerbino. Published December 2011.

Volume 2: Theological Writings and Translations

Edited by Elizabeth Clarke, David Norbrook and Jane Stevenson. Published February 2018.

Volume 3: Memoirs of the Life of John Hutchinson; Defence of John Hutchinson

Edited by Martyn Bennett and David Norbrook.

Volume 4: Poems

Edited by David Norbrook

1. The Edition

Volume 1: The Translation of Lucretius

Edited by Reid Barbour and David Norbrook; Latin text edited by Maria Cristina Zerbino. Published 2011.

Hutchinson's was the first complete English translation of one of the great classical poems, Lucretius's De rerum natura (c. 8,000 lines; British Library Additional Manuscript 19,333). This has been edited fairly recently, and with admirable concision, by Hugh de Quehen (Duckworth, 1996). However, this edition predated knowledge of her composition of Order and Disorder, a poem militantly opposed to every one of Lucretius’s premises, which raises a whole lot of new questions about the relationship of her translation to her other writings. Moreover, de Quehen’s edition does not offer the level of annotation that would be necessary to establish the boldness of Hutchinson’s engagements with the world of seventeenth-century classical scholarship. Hutchinson was working from a Latin text that differs in innumerable ways from the texts familiar to modern readers, and it is impossible to make sense of what she was doing with the Latin when working merely from a modern Loeb edition. This new edition provides the Latin text she mainly used, that of Daniel Pareus (1631), on facing pages. A line-by-line commentary explores every aspect of the translation. We ask not just how accurate or poetically effective the translation is but how her interpretations of Lucretius compared with those of the three seventeenth-century English translators – John Evelyn, Thomas Creech, and the unknown author of an excellent prose version, - how far it reflected her Puritan beliefs, the history of textual scholarship, and contemporary debates on science and religion, and how far the translation left its mark on her later writings. Through a detailed focus on Hutchinson, we shall throw light on the exciting process of the early modern discovery of Lucretius, and believe that the edition will be of interest to all concerned with the history of reading, the early modern fortunes of atheism, and the endlessly fascinating poetry of Lucretius.

Volume 2: Theological Writings

Edited by Elizabeth Clarke, David Norbrook and Jane Stevenson. Published 2018.

This volume, consisting mainly of writings from 1667 onwards, opens up a startlingly different world from that of the Lucretius translation. Here Lucy Hutchinson engages with the development of Reformed theology, from Calvin’s Institutes through to the High Calvinism of the mid-seventeenth century. The writings are fascinating case studies in the history of reading, showing how Hutchinson formed her own views through careful and critical engagement with treatises and sermons, and mediated between scholarly communities and a vernacular audience. On the Principles of the Christian Religionwas addressed to her daughter, but offers a startlingly different theological rigour to the normal subject-matter of mother-daughter treatises. On Theology, long thought to have been an original composition, was a translation from a Latin theological treatise by John Owen (1616-83), but involved a process of careful streamlining of a rather diffuse work to clarify its theological polemics, and shows her characteristic force and concision as a writer. These works have received hardly any attention because the particular stratum of neo-Calvinist theology they represent has until recently been neglected save by a small number of specialists; the commentaries will explicate their arguments and terminology and relate them to Hutchinson’s other writings.

1. General Introduction: David Norbrook.

2. Treatise on theology addressed to her daughter, Barbara Orgill, ed.with an introduction by Elizabeth Clarke. This was published in 1817 as On the Principles of the Christian Religion, addressed to her Daughter; and on Theology. The manuscript was recently located in the Northamptonshire Record Office (Fitzwilliam Misc. vol. 793) and will be taken as copy-text. Clarke’s commentary brings out this treatises’s argumentative force and intellectual independence.

3. A translation of part of John Owen, Theologoumena Pantodapa, ed. with an introduction by Jane Stevenson. The text was printed in 1817 as the second part of On the Principles of the Christian Religion, addressed to her Daughter; and on Theology. The manuscript is now lost, but the text of the treatise to Barbara Orgill can now be seen to have been fairly accurately transcribed and the 1817 edition is taken as copy-text. The commentary notes linguistic points in Hutchinson’s translation, showing that on many points it compares very favourably with the only modern translation of Owen’s text, and demonstrates connections with her other writings.

4. Other theological writing, ed. Elizabeth Clarke and David Norbrook. These are found in Nottinghamshire Archives, DD/HU3. The main texts are `My owne faith and attainment’ (1667) and `A breife summe of what I belieue’ (1668). These are important spiritual testaments. The manuscript of her theological commonplace book also includes some briefer notes, on the authority of scripture and other topics – including an interesting assessment of her relationship to Calvin – and a translation from the Latin text of Calvin’s Institutes.

5. Letters, ed. David Norbrook. These are few in number but full of biographical interest. The attribution of one of them, a defence of her husband in 1660 which she claimed to have forged, has been challenged by Derek Hirst; the edition will present new evidence on the authorship.

Volume 3:  Memoirs of the Life of John Hutchinson; Defence of John Hutchinson

Edited by Martyn Bennett and David Norbrook

1. The work traditionally known as Memoirs of the Life of Colonel Hutchinson, though it will here be given Lucy Hutchinson’s own title, ‘The Life of John Hutchinson’. Since its publication in 1806, this work has been established as a classic of seventeenth-century prose, an illuminating study of the Civil War at local and national levels, and a moving  love story. Remarkably little curiosity has been shown about how this work came into being: how did such compelling prose emerge as if from nowhere? What personal, political and religious agendas was its author pursuing? Even at the most basic level of source-material, little independent scrutiny has been given to many events for which this work remains the only evidence. Now that we know more of Lucy Hutchinson’s life and writings, it is possible to place the Memoirs much more precisely within the overall development of her career as a writer. This edition will be printed from the manuscript (now Nottinghamshire Archives DD/HU4). It will be the first edition to represent the manuscript diplomatically so that readers can follow Hutchinson’s processes of composition, and supply some passages not included in previous editions. It will also contain full annotation of the many historical and personal references which previous editions have glossed only imperfectly, and of Hutchinson’s use of source-material such as May’s History of Parliament.

2. ‘The Defence of John Hutchinson’. This is normally described as a draft for the Memoirs, but it was written twenty years earlier under very different circumstances, documenting John Hutchinson’s actions at a time when he was under severe criticism from political opponents. Though Lucy Hutchinson cannibalized this manuscript when she came to writing her life of her husband after his death, it deserves to be considered as an independent text, and the variations in language and content are far too great to be represented in an editorial apparatus. Firth published extracts in his editions of 1885 and 1906 but some parts of the MS had then been lost; this edition will publish the entire surviving manuscript for the first time.

3. Lucy Hutchinson’s autobiography. This fragment was published in 1806 along with the Memoirs. Regrettably, the manuscript, which also contained some poems, has now vanished. Despite extensive interest in early modern women’s autobiography, this brief but rich and complex text has never been properly analyzed or glossed; notes will bring to bear new biographical information while the introduction will offer a new interpretation of the text’s date and circumstances.


Volume 4: Poems

Edited by David Norbrook

1. Order and Disorder (1670s?). This poem survives in an incomplete twenty-canto version, of more than 8,000 lines (Yale University Library, Osborn MS fb.100) and in a five-canto version published by Henry Mortlock in 1679. The poem throws important light on the world of post-1660 religious and political dissent, and both its barbed political comments and its scholarly excursions into theology and natural history will need to be extensively annotated for the benefit of literary and historical readers. David Norbrook has published a modernized edition with Blackwell Publishers, but the Oxford edition will offer an old-spelling text with much fuller annotation, which will be able to draw on the edition’s new work on her other religious writings. The 1679 edition will be taken as copy-text for the first five cantos, but occasional variant readings will be taken from the Yale manuscript and all variants will be noted. The Yale manuscript is the only copy-text available for the remaining fifteen cantos of the poem; there are some interesting corrections in later hands which will be fully recorded.

2. Reply to Edmund Waller’s A Panegyrick of My Lord Protector (188 lines + 188 lines of Waller’s Panegyrick) (British Library Additional MS 17,018). Since the poem is a line-byline refutation, publication in parallel with the original is highly desirable.

3 The `Elegies’ (c. 1,000 lines). An important verse complement to the Life of John Hutchinson, expressing the grief that in that work, following her husband’s dying wish, is kept under firm control (Nottinghamshire Archives, DD/HU2).

4 Miscellaneous poems and translations (c. 500 lines).

(a) Original verse fragments, thematically linked to Order and Disorder (Nottinghamshire Archives, DD/HU3, pp. 1-5, 277-8). These are of particular interest as showing Hutchinson in the process of composition, with frequent reworkings: they include a translations from George Buchanan.

(b) Poem on retirement, from the lost autobiographical manuscript, included by Julius Hutchinson in the 1806 edition of the Memoirs, pp. 445-6.

(c) Translations:

Ovid, Metamorphoses, i.89-103 (DD/HU3, p. 277).

Latin translations from Ovid’s Heroides (DD/HU1, p. 206).

Casimir, Epigram 34 (DD/HU1, p. 207).

Psalms 1-5 (DD/HU1, pp. 139-44).

?‘Sonnet’ by Théophile de Viau, beginning ‘Chere Isis tes beautez ont troublé la nature’, attribution to be confirmed (DD/HU1, pp. 242-3).


2. The Editors


Photo of David Norbrook smiling to camera with a bookshelf behind him.
David Norbrook, General Editor

David Norbrook is Emeritus Merton Professor of English Literature, University of Oxford. His books include Poetry and Politics in the English Renaissance (1984, revised edn. 2002), Writing the English Republic (1999) and an edition of Lucy Hutchinson’s Order and Disorder (2001).




Volume 1: The Translation of Lucretius


Reid Barbour
Reid Barbour

Reid Barbour is Professor of English at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He has published widely in the field of early modern studies, including books on classical reception, religion, prose fiction, and John Selden. He is the editor of Studies in Philology.



Alice Eardley
Alice Eardley

Alice Eardley is currently Research Fellow in Early Modern Poetry, Department of English, University of Reading, working with Dr. Michelle O'Callaghan on a digital edition of sixteenth-century poetical miscellanies. She worked as MHRA Research Associate on  the Lucy Hutchinson edition and has also worked on the Warwick University John Nichols Project edition of The Progresses and Public Processions of Queen Elizabeth I (Oxford University Press) and the 'Constructing Elizabeth Isham' project's edition of Isham's manuscript life-writing: She is currently completing work on Lady Hester Pulter; Complete Works (The Other Voice in Early Modern Europe, Toronto: Centre for Reformation and Renaissance Studies, 2011) and, with Elizabeth Clarke and Erica Longfellow, Elizabeth Isham's Book of Rememberance (The Other Voice in Early Modern Europe, Toronto: Centre for Reformation and Renaissance Studies, 2011).


victoria Moul
Victoria Moul

Victoria Moul worked as a research assistant on Volume 1 of the edition. She is a lecturer in Latin Language and Literature at King's College London. She works on the translation, reception and interpretation of ancient poetry, especially Horace, with a particular interest in classical reception of the early modern period. Among the ancient poets, she has published on Horace, Pindar, Virgil and Statius; and, in early modern literature, upon Milton, Jonson, Campion, Cowley and Donne.



Volume 2: On the Principles of the Christian Religion and Other Writings


Elizabeth Clarke
Elizabeth Clarke

Elizabeth Clarke is Professor of English at the University of Warwick where she leads the Perdita Project, and has written a number of articles on early modern women’s manuscript writing. She specialises in early modern women’s manuscript writing and in early modern dissent. Her most recent book is Politics, Religion and the Song of Songs in Seventeenth-Century England which came out in 2011. She is leader of the project to re-edit the documents  associated with the progresses of Queen Elizabeth I collected and published by the eighteenth-century antiquary John Nichols, which will be published by OUP in 2012 in five volumes  as John Nichols's The Progresses and Public Processions of Queen Elizabeth: A New Edition of the Early Modern Sources.



Jane Stevenson
Jane Stevenson

Jane Stevenson is Senior Research Fellow at Campion Hall, Oxford. Her books include Women Latin Poets (Oxford, 2008) and Early Modern Women Poets, with Peter Davidson (Oxford, 2001). She has also published fiction, including a trilogy set in the seventeenth century: Astrea (2001), later republished as The Winter Queen; The Shadow King (2003); and The Empress of the Last Days (2004).




Mark Burden
Mark Burden

Mark Burden is a MHRA Research Associate (University of Oxford), working on Volume 2 of The Works of Lucy Hutchinson. His PhD thesis, 'Academical Learning in the Dissenters’ Private Academies, 1660-1720', was awarded in April 2012 (Queen Mary, University of London). As well as his work on Hutchinson’s theology, he is preparing a 150,000-word Biographical Dictionary of Dissenting Tutors for the Dr Williams’s Centre for Dissenting Studies website,, and is contributing three sections, totalling 15,000 words, to A History of the Dissenting Academies in the British Isles, 1660-1860, ed. Isabel Rivers, David Wykes and Richard Whatmore (Cambridge, forthcoming).



Volume 3: Memoirs of the Life of John Hutchinson


martyn bennett
Martyn Bennett

Martyn Bennett is Professor of Early Modern History at Nottingham Trent University. His publications include Oliver Cromwell (2006), Society, Religion, and Culture in Seventeenth-Century Nottinghamshire (2005) and The Civil Wars Experienced: Britain and Ireland, 1638-1661 (2001).