Katherine Austen’s Book M: British Library Additional MS 4454
Katherine Austen’s Book M (British Library, Additional Manuscript 4454) is the spiritual diary of a socially-ambitious, poetically-inclined Restoration widow. Austen’s ‘book of my meditations’ incorporates details of her legal battles, her theories on the significance of dreams, paraphrases of sermons and devotional readings, Psalm meditations, and 34 original poems. This is a full-text critical edition, detailing for the first time Austen’s social milieu, her devotional and literary sources, and the literary-historical significance of her work. It will be of interest to scholars of women’s writing, life-writing, manuscript culture, the Psalms, the lyric, and religion and society in seventeenth-century Britain.