Cookery Book Writing in the 17th Century: Trailblazer Hannah Wolley FREE PUBLIC TALK

Saturday 16 June 2018


Cookery Book Writing in the 17th Century: Trailblazer Hannah Wolley


Hannah Wolley (c.1622-c.1675) is one of the seventeenth century’s few Englishwomen who made a successful career out of writing. So why is it that so few have heard of her? She was a contemporary of the poet-duchess, Margaret Cavendish and the playwright Aphra Behn, both well-known figures of the time. One reason must be due to her topic. Food and household advice is rarely considered to be part of the literary canon. Nonetheless, Wolley joined both Behn and Cavendish as key seventeenth-century figures in feminist artist Judy Chicago’s seminal 1975 masterpiece, ‘The Dinner Party’ (Brooklyn Museum of Art). Hannah Wolley was a trailblazer, making a living from writing in the 1660s in the masculine world of printing and bookselling in Restoration London. This talk will explore her life through her five publications. Her experiences in domestic service as the wife of a schoolmaster and as a publishing innovator will be discussed as well as the wider challenges of writing about non-aristocratic women in this period where limited archival sources are available.


Sara Pennell is a Senior Lecturer in Early Modern British History at the University of Greenwich and published The Birth of the English Kitchen, 1600-1850 (Bloomsbury Academic) in 2016.



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