Hutchinson v. Halkett: Parliamentarian/Puritan and Royalist/Court Prose Styles

   Lady Anne [Murray] Halkett and Lucy Hutchinson represent something we have not seen in our survey since Julian of Norwich and Margery Kempe--women writing explanations of, or even defenses of, their lives and the choices which defined them.  The spiritual crises which brought Julian and Margery to compose occur for Halkett and Hutchinson in the context of the Civil War, and the disappointments both suffered as a result.  Halkett's Royalist, Cavalier party lost the battle, though the Restoration enabled her to claim a sort of hollow victory, even a victory of style, over the Parliamentarians, for whom she expresses a sort of amused contempt.  Hutchinson's Parliamentarian husband was a colonel in the rebellious army that captured the king and drove the Royalists into exile.  After the Restoration, he was imprisoned and died without being brought to trial, and Hutchinson clearly intends this memoir to justify her late husband's actions as loyal to some higher power than the Crown.  How do their narrative styles reflect their mentalities such that you could tell a Halkett passage from one by Hutchinson on the final exam, or even if you found it lying in the street with no other identifying bibliographic information? 

        One way to view both of them is to contrast their styles as forms of "political commentary," and to contrast their prose with the reporting of "news," which was just beginning to become a normal part of Londoners' reading habits: the London Gazette, 24 January 1688.  The January copy was printed at the begining of the War of the Grand Alliance [France vs. Turkey, Austria and Bavaria vs. France].  The linked 1 October 1688 copy (bottom left column verso) tells of a diplomat's congratulations to the king upon the birth of the Prince of Wales, James II's son to a Catholic queen.  This triggered the "Glorious" or "Bloodless Revolution" that forced James' abdication and brought William of Orange and Mary to the throne under a strict contract which controlled royal authority.  You would never know it to read the "news," which (like the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle version of the Viking victory at Maldon) used no art to engage readers' emotions and imaginations.