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Anne Killigrew was born in early 1660. Two of her uncles were playwrights and one built the famous Drury Lane Theatre. The leading writer of the time, John Dryden, wrote a famed elegy To The Pious Memory of the Accomplish'd Young Lady Mrs. Anne Killigrew in 1686. Yet the equally famous Alexander Pope found her work crude and unsophisticated. However what can be gleaned from the little that we know is that in her twenties she was made a personal attendant, to Mary of Modena, Duchess of York. It was there she met and became friends with poets Katherine Phillips and Anne Finch (also a maid to Mary of Modena at the time). Mary of Modena encouraged the French tradition of patrician women intellectuals immersing themselves in theatre, literature, and music. With this motivation came a number of paintings and a short book of poems published soon after her death by her father. In such male dominated times it was not unusual for female poets never to see their work published whilst alive. Anne Killigrew died of smallpox on 16 June 1685, at only 25 years. She is buried in the Chancel of the Savoy Chapel.
Publisher: Copyright Group