Women Writers and the Early Modern British Political Tradition

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This collection of essays studies political writings by women from 1400 to 1800, and moves beyond the much more common discussion of women's literary works, political roles, or the operation of gender in politics generally. The book has a novel, dual purpose: to focus on women's political writings during a period when women were discouraged from expressing political thoughts, and to analyze how the intellectual and social institutions of the age directed both women's political (or nonpolitical) existence and their ability to express, and to have heard by others, their political opinions.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
...this is an excellent collection..." Ruth Perry, American Historical Review

"I heartily recommend this book. it will be of interest to students and scholars in early modern history, poltical theory, and literature, and to feminists interested in the history of feminism." Jane Donaworth, Sixteenth Century Journal

"...this valuable collection suggests powerfully the enormous variety of European women's political activities and arguments before the francise." Paula McDowell, Albion

"...this volume is essential reading for those who want to come to terms with the ways in which gender factors into the politics or early modern England." Canadian Journal of Political Science

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521585095
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 5/1/1998
  • Pages: 408
  • Product dimensions: 5.98 (w) x 8.98 (h) x 1.06 (d)

Table of Contents

Introduction: Women, intellect and politics: their intersection in early modern Britain Hilda L. Smith; Part I. Women's Political Writings, 1400–1690: 1. Christine de Pizan and the origins of peace theory Berenice A. Carroll; 2. Political thought/political action: Margaret Cavendish's Hobbesian dilemma Anna Battingelli; 3. Women's political voice in England: 1640–1740 Lois G. Schwoerer; 4. Contextualising Aphra Behn: plays, politics and party, 1679–89 Melinda Zook; Part II. Women's Political and Philosophical Writings, 1690–1800: 5. Astell, Masham and Locke: religion and politics Patricia Springborg; 6. The politics of sense and sensibility: Mary Wollstonecraft and Catharine Macaulay Graham on Edmund Burke's Reflections on the Revolution in France Wendy Gunther Canada; 7. Emilie du Châtelet: genius and intellectual authority Judith Zinsser; Part III. The Intellectual Context and Economic Setting for Early Modern Women: 8. Contract and coercion: power and gender in Leviathan Jane S. Jacquette; 9. The significant sounds of silence: the absence of women from the political thought of Sir Robert Filmer and John Locke (or 'Why can't a woman be more like a man') Gordon Schochet; 10. Catharine Macaulay: patriot historian J. G. A. Pocock; 11. Investment, votes and 'bribes': women as shareholders in the chartered national companies Susan Staves; Part IV. Legal and Political Prescriptions for Early Modern Women: 12. The politics of identity and monarchic government: the debate over female exclusion Sarah Hanley; 13. The Holy Roman Empire: women and politics beyond liberalism, individual rights and revolutionary theory Merry Wiesner-Hanks; 14. Women as sextons and electors: King's Bench and precedents for women's citizenship Hilda L. Smith; 15. 'To be some body': married women and 'the hardships of the English laws' Barbara A. Todd; Conclusion: women's writing, women's standing: theory and politics in the early modern period Carole Pateman.

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