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A Very Short Biography of Anne Locke

The interesting life of a forgotten religious poet

Anne Locke (c. 1530-c. 1590) is not a well-known figure in the annals of English poetry, yet she has an important and interesting – not to mention little-known – claim to literary fame, so her biography is worth dwelling on. As we discuss in our new book about obscure and forgotten books, The Secret Library: A Book-Lovers’ Journey Through Curiosities of History, Locke was not only the first Englishwoman to write a sonnet sequence, but the first English poet of either gender to do so.

These are the biographical facts of Anne Locke’s life: she was the daughter of Steven Vaughan, who was in Henry VIII’s service shortly before the English Reformation. Vaughan fully supported the Protestant Reformation – probably a bit too enthusiastically, given that the 1530s was a time when overzealous reformers could come to a sticky end as easily as ardent Catholics. Read the rest of this entry

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