Elizabeth Melvill entry: Overview screen.
Writing and Life
Works By
Elizabeth Melvill was a staunch Scottish Presbyterian whose surviving poems and letters almost all relate to the efforts of James the Sixth and First to impose episcopacy and other changes on the Kirk. Their religious content is thus political as well. A number of unpublished poems have been very recently identified. Her best-known text is an allegorical dream-vision, a first-person narrative of the religious life as a quest and an arduous journey towards the celestial goal. S. M. Dunnigan in the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography calls her "one of the most important religious writers in Renaissance Scotland." Bibliographic Citation link.
About 1575 Submissions to the International Genealogical Index put EM's birth at this time, but probably they are highly speculative; recent scholarship suggests a few years later. Bibliographic Citation link.
Probably after March 1603 EM is now identified as the "M. M." (for 'Mistress Melville') listed on the title-page as author of Ane Godlie Dreame, Compylit in Scottish Meter, a 60-stanza dream-vision poem printed at Edinburgh this year. Bibliographic Citation link.  scholarly note link.
Probably after January 1604 A Godly Dreame, a translation into English of the Scots-language Ane Godlie Dreame (issued by the same Edinburgh publisher the year before) is probably the work of the original author, EM. Bibliographic Citation link.
In or after 1640 EM's date of death seems to be unrecorded, but it must have been after 1639, and is assigned to this year by the Dictionary of Literary Biography. Bibliographic Citation link.
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