English Women's Voices, 1540-1700 / Edition 1

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This collection resurrects an extraordinary array of women's writings from the mid-sixteenth through the seventeenth centuries. The focus of English Women Voices is not on females writing "literature" but on the actual lives of women, as described in their own words. The work is organized around such themes as health care, religion, politics, marriage, and education, an approach that cuts across genre and chronology and shows the significant contributions of women to their culture. Recorded in diaries, letters, sermons, pamphlets, formal petitions, health manuals, trial records, biographies, and autobiographies, the words escape from the past, as vital as current events. The opening section, "Women Testifying to Abuse," candidly describes aspects of female life that even today often remain secret. The final section, which records the voices of women preaching, will touch a nerve in women who still struggle for the right to be heard from the pulpit. Each section begins with an introduction that situates the writing in its historical context; each introduction has a suggested-readings list that opens the subject to further research. Burdened by what were perceived as the metaphysical, moral, and physiological limitations of women, the authors of these writings were enjoined to silence. Though sometimes published in their own day, the works were subsequently interred in research libraries or on microfilm. Vibrant with personal concerns, these voices will pierce the consciousness of twentieth-century readers and contribute to scholarship in literature and history courses and in all aspects of gender studies.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780813010830
  • Publisher: University Press of Florida
  • Publication date: 11/20/1991
  • Edition description: First
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 421

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
General Introduction 1
Suggested Readings 6
Pt. 1 Women Testifying to Abuse
Introduction 11
Suggested Readings 21
1 Diary 22
2 A Part of the Life 25
3 A Brief Description of the Notorious Life of J. Lamb 29
4 The Trial and Condemnation of Mervin Lord Audley: Lady Ann Audley's Testimony 33
5 A Vindication 41
6 Autobiography 43
Pt. 2 Women Describing Persecution and Life in Prison
Introduction 49
Suggested Readings 59
7 The Life, Death, Actions, and Words upon the Scaffold 61
8 Report and Plea 64
9 Once More a Warning to Thee O England 79
10 An Account of the Travels, Sufferings, and Persecutions 81
Pt. 3 Women Making Political Statements and Petitioning
Introduction 85
Suggested Readings 94
11 A True Copy of the Petition: Gentlewomen and Tradesmens' Wives 95
12 England's Fall from (the Mystical Babylon) Rome 100
13 The Humble Petition 104
14 Love's Name Lives. . . Petitions and Letters 105
15 In Pursuit of the King 110
16 To Oliver Cromwell and His Privy Council 114
17 The Case Between a Father and His Children 122
Pt. 4 Women Writing about Love and Marriage
Introduction 127
Suggested Readings 138
18 Letters of Love and Gallantry: Written by Ladies 139
19 Autobiography 141
20 Diary 158
21 The Mothers Blessing 168
Pt. 5 Women Taking Charge of Health Care
Introduction 173
Suggested Readings 182
22 A Choice Manuall, or Rare and Select Secrets in Physick 184
23 Diary 186
24 Autobiography 190
25 Medicatrix, or The Woman Physician 193
26 The Midwives Book 197
27 To Dr. ööööAn Answer to His Queries, Concerning the College of Midwives 206
28 The Countess of Lincoln's Nursery 212
Pt. 6 Women Describing Childbirth, Sickness, and Death
Introduction 221
Suggested Readings 228
29 Upon the Sight of My Abortive Birth 230
30 Autobiography 232
31 Diary 259
32 A Narrative of God's Gracious Dealings 262
33 Living Testimonies Concerning the Death of the Righteous 266
34 The Work of God in a Dying Maid 268
35 Death of a Queen 271
Pt. 7 Women Meditating and Praying
Introduction 277
Suggested Readings 288
36 Miscelanea, Meditations, Memoratives 290
37 A Ladies Legacie to Her Daughters 301
38 The Harcourt Papers 310
39 Some of the Letters and Papers 322
40 The Private Diary 324
41 The Meditations 330
42 Heaven Realized 347
43 Confessiones Amantis 349
Pt. 8 Women Defending Their Right to Preach
Introduction 353
Suggested Readings 361
44 Womens Speaking Justified 363
45 Epistle from the Women's Yearly Meeting at York and An Epistle by Mary Waite 379
46 An Epistle for True Love, Unity, and Order in the Church of Christ 390
Bibliography of Women Writers, 1540-1700 393
Index 417
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