Sarah Fyge Egerton

(20 December 1668 - 13 February 1723)

Works in ECPA

Source editions

  • The Female advocate, or, An answer to a late satyr against the pride, lust and inconstancy, &c. of woman written by a lady in vindication of her sex. London: Printed by H. C. for John Taylor, at the Globe in St. Paul's-Church-Yard, 1686. [4],24p. (ESTC R16722; OTA A40992)
  • Poems on Several Occasions, Together with a Pastoral. By Mrs. S. F. London: printed, and are to be sold by J. Nutt, near Stationers-Hall, 1703. [20],117,[3],15,[1]p.; 8⁰. (ESTC T125148)

Biographical note

Sarah Fyge Egerton, daughter of Thomas Fyge (d. 1705), a physician and city councilman descended from a land-owning family at Winslow, Buckinghamshire, and his first wife Rebecca Alcock (d. 1672), was born and educated in London. Her mother died when she was three years old, and she was raised by her father's second wife, Mary Beacham (d. 1704). She started writing poetry at an early age, her The Female Advocate, written, according to herself, when "scarce fourteen years" and first published in 1686, is a defense of women's rights in response to Robert Gould's Love given o're, or, A Satyr against the pride, lust, and inconstancy & of woman (1682). Shortly after its publication, she married the Buckinghamshire lawyer Edward Field (d. 1698). In 1700, she wrote several elegies on Dryden's death, which appeared in two miscellanies. She was romantically attracted to Henry Pierce ("Alexis" in her poems), a clerk and friend of her first husband, during and after their marriage. In June 1701, she married the Rev. Thomas Egerton of Adstock (d. 1720), Buckinghamshire, a wealthy widower 20 years her senior. The marriage was an unhappy one, and resulted in a prolonged and public breakdown, conflict and violence. In 1703, she published her collection of Poems on Several Occasions, Together with a Pastoral. The addressees of her poems indicate a wide range of interests, including the theatre (George Powell, Elizabeth Bracegirdle), literature and poetry (Nahum Tate, John Yalden, Joshua Barnes), and science and philosophy (John Norris). She seems to have written little in her later life. She died in Winslow on 13 February 1723.

Bibliography

ODNB 37390; NCBEL 472-473

Editions

  • Evans, Robert C. with MeKoi Scott, eds. Sarah Fyge Egerton. The Early Modern Englishwoman: A Facsimile Library of Essential Works. Series II. Printed Writings 1641-1700: Part 4. Volume 2. Farnham, Surrey; Burlington, VT: Ashgate, 2012. Print. (Contains facsimiles of The Female Advocate (1686/1707) and Poems (1703))
  • Merchant, Peter with Steven Orman, eds. Sarah Fyge Egerton. The Female Advocate: or, An Answer to a Late Satyr.... Sydney: Juvenilia, 2010. Print.

Reference

Criticism

  • Barash, Carol. 'The Native Liberty … Of The Subject': Configurations of Gender and Authority in the Works of Mary Chudleigh, Sarah Fyge Egerton, and Mary Astell. Grundy, Isobel, and Susan Wiseman, eds. Women, Writing, History: 1640-1799. Athens: U of Georgia P, 1992. 55-69. Print.
  • Bhattacharya, Nandini. Sarah Fyge Field Egerton. Schlueter, Paul and June Schlueter, eds. An Encyclopedia of British Women Writers. rev. ed. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers UP, 1998. 219-221. Print.
  • Genovese, Michael. 'Profess As Much As I': Dignity as Authority in the Poetry of Sarah Fyge Egerton. Eighteenth Century: Theory & Interpretation 51 1/2 (2010): 45-66. Print.
  • Joule, Victoria. Feminist Foremother? The Maternal Metaphor in Feminist Literary History and Delarivier Manley's The Nine Muses (1700). Women's Writing 20(1) (2013): 32-48. Print.
  • Kelley, Anne. 'What A Pox Have The Women To Do With The Muses?' The Nine Muses (1700): Emulation or Appropriation?. Women's Writing 17(1) (2010): 8-29. Print.
  • Medoff, Jeslyn S. "My Daring Pen": The Autobiographical Poetry of Sarah Fyge (Field, Egerton), (1688-1723). Univ. diss., Rutgers University, 1994. Dissertation Abstracts International 55(3) (1994): 576A. Print.
  • Rennhak, Katharina. 'Amaz'd We Read Of Nature's Early Throes': Gender, the Creation and Spaces of Creativity in Early Eighteenth-Century Poetry. Zwierlein, Anne-Julia, ed. Gender and Creation: Surveying Gendered Myths of Creativity, Authority, and Authorship. Regensburger Beiträge zur Gender-Forschung, 4. Heidelberg, Germany: Universitätsverlag Winter, 2010. 115-130. Print.