Laetitia Pilkington

1708–1750
Laetitia Pilkington

Laetitia van Lewen was born in Ireland. Her father was a respected surgeon, her mother was of aristocratic descent, and the family lived comfortably in Dublin. Alone and destitute after her divorce from Matthew Pilkington, she began to make her living from writing, penning poems, petitions, plays, billets-doux, and sermons, often for male writers who passed them off as their own. Pilkington’s Memoirs provide an invaluable glimpse into 18th-century literary society and the ironies, struggles, and disappointments of female writers attempting to make their way through it.

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