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Short biography
Elizabeth Singer Rowe was born in Ilchester, Somerset, England, to a religious Dissenting family. Her parents are identified as Walter Singer, a gentleman and minister, and his wife Elizabeth Portnell. She began writing poetry at young age. When she was 19, she began corresponding with John Dunton, a London bookseller and founder of The Athenian Society, an intellectual and literary group. He published her first works in their journal The Athenian Mercury during 1693-1696. In 1710, she married Thomas Rowe, a classical scholar 13 years her junior. On his death five years alter, she moved to Frome, where she lived a retired life. Elizabeth Rowe became one of the best-known and influential women writers of the early 18th century. Using the pseudonym "Philomela," she wrote witty, topical, satirical poetry, essays, and fiction, and then more poetry of a devotional nature later in life. Her book Friendship in Death: in Twenty Letters from the Dead to the Living (1728) was hugely popular and established her as a national literary figure. Her personal letters and other works were published shortly after her death as Devout Exercises of the Heart (1737), while some of her other poetry was published posthumously as Miscellaneous Works in Prose and Verse (1739). Her works continued to be popular well into the 19th century, went through multiple editions on both sides of the Atlantic, and were frequently translated.
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