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Katherine Philips - Poet: 1632 – 1664

Katherine Philips (“The Matchless Orinda”) founded The Society of Friendship, a semi-literary correspondence circle composed primarily of women, though men were also involved. She started writing poetry soon after her marriage at the age of sixteen.

She wrote some hundred and sixteen poems, completed five verse translations, and translated two plays by Pierre Corneille (1606-1684) from the French. Her poetic style was considered simple, elegant, and conventional, compared with that of Aphra Behn her contemperary. In her lifetime Philips saw only two of her books in print. The first was a translation of Corneille's play La mort de Pompee, which her fellow-dramatist the Earl of Orrery had staged in Dublin, and which was printed shortly afterwards (1663). The second, unauthorized, book was Poems by the Incomparable Mrs. K.P. (1664), which was withdrawn a few days after publication because Katherine objected on the grounds that the text was inadequately printed. However a number of editions of her poems were published after her death.

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