The Place of the Poet in Place: Reading Local Culture in the Work of Mary Leapor

Anne Milne, University of Toronto, Scarborough
Vol. 34, No. 1 (Spring 2015), 125-139

This paper highlights how local culture is reflected by the eighteenth-century British natural genius Mary Leapor (1722-1746) and in a broader way considers the value of historicizing discussions of local culture and bioregionalism. The author turns to bioregionally based readings of several Leapor classics such as “Crumble-Hall” and “The Epistle of Deborah Dough” as a new direction of inquiry (both spatially and conceptually) that focuses less on the laboring-class poet’s neoclassical credentials and more on what emerges from “where she stands.” The article balances what bioregionalism might call Leapor’s fundamental homelessness, manifested both in biographical descriptions and in her poetry, against an assertion of “place-making” in Leapor’s poems where she generates laboring-class content and challenges conventional representations of place.

Mary Wollstonecraft Sojourner Truth Margaret Atwood Abigail Adams Amy Tan H.D. Simone de Beauvoir Zora Neale Hurston Frances Burney Virginia Woolf

"The white saxifrage with the indented leafe is moste commended for the breakinge of the Stone."

— Turner, Herbal, III, 68 [1568]