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This article is taken from PN Review 153, Volume 30 Number 1, September - October 2003.

Isabella Lickbarrow: A Romantic Rediscovered Constance Parrish and Duncan Wu

Isabella Lickbarrow (1784-1847) is a discovery of the last decade, her work having been neglected since its first appearance, and the details of her life vanished into the archives, seemingly forever. When Duncan Wu included her in his Romantic Women Poets (1997), he was able to discover little beyond her birth and death dates, and much of her poetry was still buried in the files of long-defunct magazines and newspapers. Since then Constance Parrish has recovered her life-story, and compiled a comprehensive bibliography of her works. Lickbarrow is now becoming recognised as a significant poet of the Romantic period. Unlike her contemporary Wordsworth, she was close to common people, sharing their hardship and poverty, while preserving her deep sensitivity and love of the natural world.

Isabella Lickbarrow was born on 5 November 1784 to James and Mary Lickbarrow (nee Bristo) of Market Place, Kendal. She had three younger sisters - Rachel (born 1786), Hannah (1787-95) and Margaret (born 1789). Her mother died at the age of 34 in May 1790, leaving Isabella motherless at the age of five and a half. Strong ties in Quaker families would have meant that both sets of grandparents and extended families would have stepped in to fill the void left by her mother. Among them was Deborah Dalton, her Great-Aunt, mother of the eminent scientist John Dalton (discoverer of the atom). Dalton taught in the Kendal Quaker School in Stramongate near to Isabella's home in Market Place; Isabella's father James ...

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