Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Arts



First Advisor

Chandler, Anne


The purpose of this project is to shed light on three female laboring-class poets who have gone largely overlooked by scholars of eighteenth-century studies, Mary Leapor, Ann Yearsley, and Janet Little. This paper argues that when discussed together these poets exemplify the shift from Augustan models of intellectualism to proto-Romantic thought. Issues of literary patronage and trend are highlighted in this thesis as the laboring-class poetic tradition enjoyed a long vogue in the eighteenth-century. Chapter One offers a look in the literary marketplace of the period and what scholars have said about the subject of laboring-class writing so far. Chapters Two, Three, and Four focus on the poetry of Leapor, Yearsley, and Little, with particular attention to tribute poems with the goal of highlighting the role of laboring-class writers from Augustan poetry to proto-Romantic poetry.




This thesis is Open Access and may be downloaded by anyone.