Women Writers and the Early Modern British Political Tradition

Women Writers and the Early Modern British Political Tradition

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This collection of essays includes studies of women's political writings from Christine de Pizan to Mary Wollstonecraft and explores in depth the political ideas of the writers in their historical and intellectual context. The volume illuminates the limitations placed on women's political writings and their broader political role by the social and scholarly institutions of early modern Europe. In so doing, the authors probe legal and political restraints, distinct national and state organisation, and assumptions concerning women's proper intellectual interests. In this endeavour, the volume explores questions and subjects traditionally ignored by historians of political thought and little considered even by current feminist theorists, groups who give slight attention to women's political ideas or place women's writings within the social and intellectual structures from which they emerged and which they helped to shape.show more

Product details

  • Electronic book text
  • Cambridge University Press (Virtual Publishing)
  • Cambridge, United Kingdom
  • 1139241176
  • 9781139241175

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 Chatelet: 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.show more

Review quote

...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 Scienceshow more