Halkett and Hutchinson as Prose Stylists and Representative Royalists and Parliamentarians
Lady Anne Halkett and Lucy Hutchinson were selected by the Norton specifically to represent "voices" from the Civil War era, representing the Royalist and Parliamentary points of view. Their attitudes toward the politics of events they describe are clearly dictated by their loyalties to king or to the Protectorate, but their styles also reflect those loyalties, as well. Keep in mind the court's adherence to long-standing habits of mind, including a fondness for genres of literature that go out of style much sooner in the literature of the "town" or the "country" (i.e., London and the rest of rural England). Lady Mary Wroth was writing sonnet cycles and a prose romance in the Medieval style, like her uncle, Sir Philip Sidney, though she was probably born in 1587, the year after he died, and she lived well through the Parliamentary victory in 1642-49. Similarly, if you read Halkett carefully, you can detect elements of an old-fashioned Medieval romance in its construction of the duke's rescue from his prison by a loyal band of allies, the trading of courtly compliments in the midst of great danger, and especially the dependence of the escape upon Providential coincidences. Hutchinson, likewise, is stylistically representative of her political loyalties in constructing her historical narration of events at court, a battle between infernal foreign (and female!) persecutors against the native, "godly," and apparently male victims of the court's and Church's persecutions. Readers who buy into Halkett's "royal romance" invest in one history of England, whereas those who accept Hutchinson's Protestant martyrdom tale buy another history of England. From whence might we see a unified English social consciousness for the Eighteenth, Nineteenth, and Twentieth Centuries?
Other differences identify these two memoirists as belonging to two different "Englands" and "English Literatures," split by the era's divided culture. Look at the social (esp. speech) manners each writer takes for granted in each narrative for further evidence of the town/court division of culture. How does Halkett describe her conversations with Bamfield (also spelled "Bampfield") and the duke, and what assumptions are thereby revealed about how speaker and hearer should conduct themselves? What assumptions does Hutchinson imply are motivating those who oppose the court's "uxorious" and sexually corrupt agendas? Especially, look for each writer's representation of "the voice of the crowd," whether it's the opinion of a group of searchers or Parliamentary scribes, or "the people of England" in Hutchinson's narrative. Is democracy a good or a bad thing in the mid-17th century? Remember that Plato saw democracy as Athens' undoing, government not by philosopher kings but by a mob of politically incompetent voting citizens swayed by fancy rhetoric. If you side with the king, "the crowd" is made up of unruly "subjects" who fail to acknowledge the rightful (Medieval) relation between lord and vassal. If you side with Parliament, "the crowd" is "the voters," the constituent members of "the country" as a political unit.