By: Ann Hawkshaw (1812-1885)
Sonnets on Anglo-Saxon History
The history of Britain up to the Norman Conquest in the form of 100 prose commentaries, each followed by a sonnet. The commentaries set the historical scene, quoting from Bede, the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle and noted historians of the times, Hawkshaws sonnets are both imaginative and reflective, often casting new light on historical figures and events. Born in Yorkshire, Ann Hawkshaw spent much of her creative life in Manchester, where her husband John Hawkshaw was elected to Manchester Literary and Philosophical Society and, as a friend of Elizabeth Gaskell, she was drawn into the intellectual and literary circle of the city.
Dionysius the Areopagite, with other poems
An early figure in the birth of poetry in industrial Manchester, Ann Hawkshaw published three collections and another was circulated privately. Her first collection. published in Manchester and London in 1842, begins with an epic poem, Dionysius the Areopagite. Based on the New Testament story of the conversion of Dionysius by St Paul, much of the poem centres on the consequences of Dionysius' conversion for his betrothed, Myra, and her sister, Corrina. The collection also includes two of Hawkshaw's most important works, The Past and The Future, and a number of shorter poems on themes of history, loss and faith.