Although few women published poetry before the Restoration, by 1680 several collections of poems by women had appeared, and after 1700 the number of publications of this type increased dramatically. This increase paralleled the increase in the number of women publishing prose and can be attributed, in part, to the social changes which led to increased literacy, establishment of newspapers, improved communications throughout the country and expansion of the publishing industry. In part, however, this growth of interest by women in publishing their verse was influenced by the work of a relatively small group of seventeenth century authors who included Aphra Behn and Katherine Philips. Two collections were published in 1653: Divine Songs and Meditacions, by Anne Collins; and Margaret Cavendish's Poems and Fancies; but it was Katherine Philips' Poems, published posthumously in 1667, that became the first in a series of popular and successful works by women. Aphra Behn began her career as a playwright in 1670 with The Forc'd Marriage, and after she had achieved success with her plays she published a volume of verse, Poems Upon Several Occasions. With a Voyage to the Island of Love ( 1684). Other verse collections published before the end of the century include Female Poems on Several Occasions. Written by Ephelia ( 1679), now attributed to Joan Philips; Anne Killigrew's Poems ( 1686); Jane Barker's Poetical Recreations ( 1688); and Elizabeth Singer Rowe's Poems on Several Occasions ( 1696). Mary Pix, Catherine Trotter and Mary Delariviere Manley all began publishing during the 1690s, while Susanna Centlivre produced her first play, The Perjured Husband, in 1700.
Several popular works appeared at the beginning of the eighteenth century. Mary Chudleigh published a poem in dialogue, The Ladies Defence: or, The Bride-Woman's Counsellor Answer'd ( 1700- 1701)