Katherine Philips

(1632—1664) poet

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known as the ‘Matchless Orinda’, was the daughter of Royalist John Fowler, a London merchant. In 1648 she married Parliamentarian James Philips of Cardigan: he was 59, she 17. Her poems inspired eulogies by H. Vaughan: a commendatory poem by ‘Orinda’ was prefixed to his Thalia Redeviva. Her translation of Corneille's Pompée was acted in Dublin with great success in 1663, and her version of Horace completed by Denham in 1668. She died of smallpox, and was mourned in elegies by A. Cowley and Sir W. Temple. Her collected poems were published in 1667 (an unauthorized appeared in 1664). They memorialize a coterie, a Platonic Society of Friendship, whose members were known by poetic sobriquets, including Anne Owen (Lucasia), Mary Aubrey (Rosania) John Berkenhead (Cratander), and Sir Charles Cotterell (Polliarchus), her correspondence with whom was published as Letters from Orinda to Poliarchus (1705). Her lyrics, marrying Cavalier and metaphysical influences, applied Petrarchan love conventions to present women's friendship as an ideal.

Subjects: Literature.

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Works by Katherine Philips