Anne Francis (author)

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Anne Francis, née Gittins (1738 – 7 November 1800) was an English classical scholar and poet.


Francis was the daughter of the Rev. Daniel Gittins, rector of South Stoke, near Arundel, Sussex. She was educated by her father in the classics and Hebrew. She married the Rev. Robert Bransby Francis, rector of Edgefield, near Holt, Norfolk.

Though lacking formal classical training, Francis was clearly in contact with the leading Old Testament scholars of the time: her Poetical Translation of the Song of Songs was dedicated to John Parkhurst, and other subscribers included Robert Lowth and Benjamin Kennicott. The Poetical Translation focussed on what she saw as the direct dramatic action of the song, rather than its Christian allegorical interpretation. Taking a cue from Thomas Harmer, Francis distinguished the voice of an 'Egyptian Spouse' from that of a 'Jewish Queen': in this love triangle, Solomon's marriage to the daughter of Pharaoh was resented by an earlier wife.[1] Her translation has not received much continuous attention. Yet in the verdict of one recent commentator, Francis's "insistence on bringing together learning and feeling, what she knew as male and female worlds, makes her Song of Songs an outstanding feminist monument."[2]

She died on 7 November 1800.


  • A Poetical Translation of the Song of Solomon from the original Hebrew, with a preliminary Discourse and Notes, historical and explanatory, 1781, 4to.
  • The Obsequies of Demetrius Poliorcetes: a Poem, 1785, 4to.
  • A Poetical Epistle from Charlotte to Werther, 1788, 4to.
  • Miscellaneous Poems, 1790, 12mo.


  1. ^ Al Wothers (2012). "Francis, Ann (1738-1900)". In Marion Ann Taylor; Agnes Choi. Handbook of Women Biblical Interpreters: A Historical and Biographical Guide. Baker Books. ISBN 978-1-4412-3867-2. Retrieved 10 October 2012. 
  2. ^ Mary Dove, 'Merely a Love Poem? Common Sense, Suspicion, and the Song of Songs. In Frances Devlin-Glass and Lyn McCredden, eds., Feminist Poetics of the Sacred: Creative Suspicions, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2001, pp.151-63, p. 161. Quoted in Wothers.

 This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain"Francis, Anne". Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co. 1885–1900.