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Jane West [née Iliffe] (1758-1852), who published as "Prudentia Homespun" and "Mrs. West," was an English novelist, poet, playwright, and writer of conduct literature and educational tracts. Contents 1 Life 2 Works 2.1 Fiction 2.2 Conduct literature 2.3 Poetry 2.4 Other works 3 Notes 4 Resources // Life Jane West's parents were Jane and John Iliffe. She was born in London, though the family moved to Desborough in Northamptonshire when she was eleven. She reported herself to have been self-educated and interested in poetry from an early age. By 1783 she was married to Thomas West (d. 1823), a yeoman farmer from Leicestershire. She had three sons: Thomas (1783–1843), John (1787–1841), and Edward (1794–1821). In 1800 she wrote to Bishop Thomas Percy seeking his patronage, and while he lived she benefited from the connection, though her literary connections were never extensive. She did correspond with Sarah Trimmer, and she wrote a series of poems in praise of women writers: Trimmer, Elizabeth Carter, Charlotte Turner Smith, and Anna Seward.[1] Her writing is consistently conservative and didactic, though she did advocate expanded education for women. Her works serve as a counterpoint to the revolutionary politics of the day: A Tale of the Times (1799) is anti-Jacobin; The Infidel Father (1802) attacks atheism; and one of her conduct texts, Letters to a Young Lady, "forms an ideological counterpart to Mary Wollstonecraft's Vindication of the Rights of Woman (1792)."[2] Though she has been called "strident,"[2] her writing was popular in its day for its "improving" qualities. Letters to a Young Man (1801), for example, went through six editions by 1818. Her poems appeared in journals and anthologies and she was a long-standing contributor to the Gentleman's Magazine. Her dramas would seem to have been less in tune with popular taste; they were not as successful. And while she claimed to consider her womanly domestic duties more important than her literary activities — "My needle always claims the pre-eminence of my pen. I hate the name of 'rhyming slattern.'" — there are indications that she actively sought success as a writer.[3] She never achieved the wide reputation she would have liked, however, and died at ninety-four feeling out of step with contemporary trends. Works Fiction The Advantages of Education, or The History of Maria Williams (published as "Prudentia Homespun", 2 vols., 1793) A Gossip's Story, and a Legendary Tale (published as "Prudentia Homespun", 2 vols., 1796) A Tale of the Times (3 vols., 1799) The Infidel Father (3 vols., 1802) The Refusal (1810) The Loyalists: an Historical Novel (1812) Alicia de Lacy: an Historical Romance (4 vols., 1814) Ringrove, or, Old Fashioned Notions (1827) "The Sorrows of Selfishness" (children's story, published as "Prudentia Homespun") Conduct literature Letters to a Young Man (3 vols., 1801) Letters to a Young Lady (1806) Poetry Miscellaneous Poetry, Written at an Early Period of Life (1786) The Humours of Brighthelmstone: a Poem (1788) Miscellaneous Poems, and a Tragedy ["Edmund"] (York, 1791) An Elegy on the Death of the Right Honourable Edmund Burke (1797) Poems and Plays (Vols. 1 and 2, 1799; 3 and 4, 1805) The Mother: a Poem in Five Books (1799) Other works Select Translations of the Beauties of Massillon (1812) Scriptural Essays Adapted to the Holy Days of the Church of England (2 vols., 1816) Notes ^ Roger Lonsdale, ed. Eighteenth-Century Women Poets. New York: Oxford University Press, 1989. 379. ^ a b Gail Baylis, “West , Jane (1758–1852).” Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Ed. H. C. G. Matthew and Brian Harrison. Oxford: OUP, 2004. Online ed. Ed. Lawrence Goldman. Jan. 2006. 11 Apr. 2007. ^ Roger Lonsdale, ed. Eighteenth-Century Women Poets. New York: Oxford University Press, 1989. 379-380. Resources Baylis, Gail. “West , Jane (1758–1852).” Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Ed. H. C. G. Matthew and Brian Harrison. Oxford: OUP, 2004. Online ed. Ed. Lawrence Goldman. Jan. 2006. 11 Apr. 2007. Lonsdale, Roger ed. "Jane West (née Iliffe).Eighteenth-Century Women Poets. New York: Oxford University Press, 1989. 379-385.