Eleanor Davies (1590-1652) was one of the most prolific women writing in early seventeenth-century England. This volume includes thirty-eight of the prophetic tracts that she published. Inspired to prophecy by a visionary experience in 1625, the year Charles I took the throne, she devoted herself to warning her contemporaries that the Day of Judgement was imminent, and prophesied doom for Charles I and Archbishop Laud. Her zeal and her intricately constructed tracts confounded contemporaries, who considered her mad. She experienced repeated imprisonment and also confinement to Bedlam, London's mental hospital.
Like the biblical prophets who were her models, Davies wove her own life story into the prophesies; these selected tracts offer an opportunity to study Davies's experiences as wife, mother, and widow. In showing how England's history was fulfilling the biblical prophecies in the book of Daniel and the book of Revelation, Davies commented about the political and religious controversies of the turbulent period preceding and during the English Civil War.
This latest addition to the Women Writers in English series allows us to see the way an extraordinary woman constructed her story. Esther Cope's critical introduction and annotation of the tracts enables readers to appreciate Davies's intellect, learning, and fascination with words, and, finally, to understand her prophetic mission.