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Roslyn Potter
Scottish Literature
4th year
Lilias Skene: Quaker Poet and Social Activist in Seventeenth-Century Aberdeen
This article looks at one aspect of the life and work of Lilias Skene through historical and theological lenses. It will discuss how Skene’s status as a Quaker provided her with a relative position of power in comparison to many other women in seventeenth century Scotland, and how she utilised this power to challenge traditional societal models. First, the historical setting will be established before considering how Skene’s acts of rebellion disrupted the customs of polite society, and how her poetry subverted traditional gender norms. Through close study of several poems containing violent and war-like imagery, Skene’s rhetorical skill and Biblical knowledge will be demonstrated. Her literary legacy has seen few studies and this article seeks to illuminate a long-forgotten poet with a unique position, outlook, and agenda in the history of Scottish women’s writing.
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