A Flame Fate Dares Not Move A Sapphic Reading of Katherine Philips

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Josi Brickman


This article proposes that "To Mrs. M. A. at Parting," a poem by Katherine Philips, portrays a sapphic relationship between its two characters, Orinda and Rosania, and the romantic relationship as inherently powerful and companionate. Secondary literature has broached this topic regarding Katherine Philips but has barely touched this particular poem. This article explores how the poem directly describes this relationship by examining the poem’s syntax, tenses, and pronouns as well as its literary context. The idea of companionate romantic relations was relatively underground at the time; this poem’s portrayal not only argues for the relationship itself but also against the heteronormativity of the time.

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Literature and History