Isabella Andreini was the most famous actress of the Italian Renaissance. She was also a playwright; in fact, the first woman to publish a pastoral. This modern edition and translation subtly captures the novelty, as well as the imaginative pyrotechnics, of a brilliant, self-made virtuosa of the stage.
The forty texts collected in this volume offer a small but representative sample of Quaker women’s tremendous literary output between 1655 and 1700. They include examples of key Quaker literary genres—proclamations, directives, warnings, sufferings, testimonies, polemic, pleas for toleration—and showcase a range of literary styles and voices.
Marie-Geneviève-Charlotte Thiroux d’Arconville combined fierce intellectual ambition with the proper demeanor of the wife of a leading magistrate. Always publishing anonymously, her works included moralist philosophy, scientific and literary translations, original scientific research, fiction, and history.
Mary Wroth’s private manuscript, printed here for the first time, shows her to be a greater poet — a more psychologically insightful, verbally sophisticated, and boldly original poet than scholars realized, while her carefully curated, re-conceptualized printed collection shows her to be a remarkably self-reflexive and critically astute writer.
Othea’s Letter to Hector, one of Christine de Pizan’s most popular works, is at the same time one of her most complex creations. Combining a somewhat Sibylline verse text based on a mythological figure with extensive citation of pagan sapiential authorities, the Bible, and the Church Fathers, it showcases Christine’s extraordinary learning and her innovative approach to didacticism.
Diverse Observations is a groundbreaking book available for the first time in English. Written by a midwife committed to improving the care of women and newborns, it records the evolution of Bourgeois’s practice and beliefs, comments on changing attitudes related to reproductive health, and critiques the gendered elitism of the early modern medical hierarchy.
This volume presents in translation 100 previously unknown letters of Ippolita Maria Sforza (1445–1488), daughter of the Duke of Milan, who was sent at age twenty to marry the son of the infamously brutal King Ferrante of Naples. Sforza’s letters display the adroit diplomacy she used to strengthen the alliance between Milan and Naples, then the two most powerful states in Italy.
Isabella d’Este (1474–1539), daughter of the Este dukes of Ferrara and wife of Marchese Francesco II Gonzaga of Mantua, co-regent of the Gonzaga state, art collector, musician, diplomat, dynastic mother, traveler, reader, gardener, fashion innovator, and consummate politician, was also, as this volume attests, a prolific letter writer with a highly developed epistolary network.
The texts available here in English for the first time open a window into the lives of three early modern Frenchwomen as they explore the common themes of family, memory, sin, and salvation: the Regrets of Marguerite d’Auge (1600), the Memoirs of Renée Burlamacchi (1623), and the Genealogy of Jeanne du Laurens (1631), are taken from different genres of historical writings.
Christine de Pizan (ca. 1364–ca. 1431) has long been recognized as France’s first professional woman of letters, and interest in her voluminous and wide-ranging corpus has been steadily rising for decades. In The Mutability of Fortune, Christine fuses world history with autobiography to demonstrate mankind’s subjugation to the ceaselessly changing, and often cruel, whims of Fortune.
In 1654, Anna Trapnel — a Baptist, Fifth Monarchist, millenarian, and visionary from London — fell into a trance during which she prophesied passionately and at length against Oliver Cromwell and his government. Her Report and Plea offers fascinating insight into the life and times of an early modern woman claiming her place at the center of the tumultuous political events of mid-seventeenth-century England.
Winner of the Society for the Study of Early Modern Women's 2017 Josephine Roberts Award for a Scholarly Edition published in 2016
This volume presents ten plays by three leading women playwrights of Spain’s Golden Age. Included are four bawdy and outrageous comic interludes; a full-length comedy involving sorcery, chivalry, and dramatic stage effects; and five short religious plays satirizing daily life in the convent.
These translations from the French bring two of Claudine-Alexandrine de Tencin’s novels back to life: The Memoirs of the Count of Comminge (1735), and The Misfortunes of Love (1747). Like the work of Abbé Prévost and Pierre de Marivaux, they were important contributions to the early sentimental novel. They also anticipated the gothic novels of Ann Radcliffe which appeared later in the century.
Honorable Mention, Society for the Study of Early Modern Women's 2017 Scholarly Edition in Translation Award for a work published in 2016
Juana de la Cruz (1481–1534) is a unique figure in the history of the Catholic Church, thanks to her public visionary experiences. Juana’s so called “sermons” form a fascinating window into Castilian religiosity in the early sixteenth century.
Winner of the Society for the Study of Early Modern Women's 2017 Teaching Edition Award for a work published in 2016
The seventy-three surviving letters written by Florentine widow, Alessandra Macinghi Strozzi (c.1406–1471), to her distant sons are here translated into English in their entirety for the first time, and constitute a most precious testimony regarding both private and public life in the mid-fifteenth century.
Orphan Girl: A Transaction, or an Account of the Entire Life of an Orphan Girl by way of Plaintful Threnodies in the Year 1685. The Aesop Episode
Anna Stanislawska (1651-1701) meticulously reconstructed in an epic poem the episode of her forced marriage to the deviant son of the Castellan of Kraków. Barry Keane's idiomatic and inventive verse translation brings to life this poetic account of a remarkable tale of triumph in the face of overwhelming oppression.
Bathsua Makin describes the appropriate education for London merchants’ daughters, arguing that girls should be educated and should aspire to follow learned women in history, and that educated women improve their families and themselves. Mary More argues that women have the right to an education, and that such an education shows that the inequality of married women under English law is a man-made institution.
This edition presents in English, for the first time, Jeanne d’Albret’s Letters, together with her Ample Declaration (1568) defending her decampment to the Protestant stronghold of La Rochelle. A historical-biographical introduction situates these writings in the larger context of Reformation politics and examines in detail the specific literary characteristics of her memoir.
Honorable Mention, Society for the Study of Early Modern Women's 2016 Josephine Roberts Award for a Scholarly Edition published in 2015
In 1415, Francesco Barbaro produced a marriage manual intended at once for his friend, a scion of the Florentine Medici family, and for the young nobility of Venice. The Wealth of Wives circulated in more than 100 manuscript versions, five Latin editions, and translations into German, Italian, French, and English.
In her autobiographical Report on Captivity, Angélique de Saint-Jean Arnauld d’Andilly (1624–1684), abbess of Port-Royal, recounts her personal methods of spiritual resistance as she and her fellow nuns underwent waves of persecution resulting in exile, house arrest, interdict, and excommunication. Her voluminous theological writings present the theoretical basis for this resistance.
A sixteenth-century bestseller, The Pleasant Nights is today a fundamental text for European folk and fairy tale studies, for alongside triumphal and tragic love stories, comical tales of practical jokes, and accounts of witty retorts, Straparola (1480?–1557?) placed some of the first fairy tales printed in Europe. This book presents the first new and complete English translation of Straparola’s tales and riddles to be published since the nineteenth century.
In 1635, Margaret Van Noort, a lay sister of the royal convent of Discalced Carmelite nuns in Brussels, composed her spiritual autobiography. This text was followed by two diaries in 1636 and 1637. Now gathered in this volume, these works illustrate Margaret’s development from a troubled young lay sister into a woman of spiritual experience and authority.
The Bolognese nun Diodata Malvasia was presumed to have authored only one work, The Arrival and the Miraculous Workings of the Glorious Image of the Virgin (1617). In her recently discovered second chronicle, A Brief Discourse on What Occurred to the Most Reverend Sisters of the Joined Convents of San Mattia and San Luca (1575), her writing demonstrates active resistance to convent reform. Together, Malvasia’s works read as the bookends to a lifelong crusade on behalf of her convent.
Winner of the Society for the Study of Early Modern Women's 2016 Josephine Roberts Award for a Scholarly Edition published in 2015
This edition presents, for the first time in English, a selection from the repertoire of the first Polish woman dramatist, Princess Franciszka Urszula Radziwillowa (1705–1753), with a historical-biographical Introduction incorporating interpretations of her works.
Winner of the Society for the Study of Early Modern Women's 2016 Award for a Teaching Edition published in 2015
The four works included here, translated into English for the first time, represent the diversity of genres cultivated by women playrights, while reflecting both the cultural milieu of the era and a concern for the status of women.
Winner of the Society for the Study of Early Modern Women's 2015 Josephine Roberts Award for a Scholarly Edition published in 2014
This edition assembles a diverse array of scathing polemic and loft praise, diplomatic reports, and letters by Catherine de Médicis, which together show how one extraordinary woman’s rule intersected with early modern conceptions of gender, maternity, and power.
Veronica Gambara (1485 – 1550) was one of the most celebrated lyric poets of early sixteenth-century Italy. This book presents the first complete bilingual edition of Gambara’s verse. It sheds light on the unique interrelationship between Gambara’s cultural currency and her political power, as she drew on her literary talent to participate in the political arena to emerge as one of the first women poet-rulers of the Early Modern Italian tradition.
Tales and Trials of Love, Concerning Venus’s Punishment of Those Who Scorn True Love and Denounce Cupid’s Sovereignty. A Bilingual Edition and Study
In Tales and Trials of Love, Jeanne Flore (whose identity remains a mystery) depicts an ideal notion of love as a mutually beneficial relationship upheld in a world governed by Venus and Cupid. These seven tales illustrate various obstacles to that ideal and the consequences of denouncing Cupid’s sovereignty.
Honorable Mention, Society for the Study of Early Modern Women's 2015 Josephine Roberts Award for a Scholarly Edition published in 2014
Written during the 1640s, 50s, and 60s, Lady Hester Pulter’s Poems, Emblems, and The Unfortunate Florinda addresses some of the most pressing issues confronting early modern England, including the social status of women.
In the wake of Peter the Great’s westernizing reforms, Russians raced to build the kind of modern literary culture that Europeans had achieved centuries earlier. Until recently, women’s contribution to this fascinating period of rapid assimilation and creation has been ignored. This volume challenges us to reimagine the early Russian literary canon, by considering a broad range of pioneering women poets who remain largely unknown, even in their homeland.
The figure of Tullia d’Aragona has long fascinated readers as the prototype of the “honest courtesan”, a woman who successfully exploited her physical and intellectual charms to win the adoration and respect of the Italian cultural elite. With Julia Hairston’s richly annotated edition of her collected verse, d’Aragona finally comes into focus also as poet.
This excellent piece of work brings a new and fascinating seventeenth-century voice to twenty-first-century readers interested in women’s studies, literature, and history. Book M by the London widow Katherine Austen lends itself well to modernization, and it will be a great contextual reading for courses on British Restoration culture and literature.
Granddaughter of James I of England, Sophia (1630–1714) began life a penniless princess in exile. She ended it as electress dowager of Hanover, an emerging European power. The memoirs, which recount the first fifty years of Sophia’s life, appear here in English for the first time in their entirety. Their publication in this series is particularly timely, as it coincides with the three hundredth anniversary of the Hanoverian succession (2014).
The Christian Religion, as Professed by a Daughter of the Church of England (1705) is the most mature and comprehensive statement of Mary Astell's religious and philosophical views. It also represents the culmination of Astell's feminist project to teach her fellow women how to lead useful lives of virtue and wisdom. This volume offers the first complete modern version of the 1717 second edition.
Winner of the Society for the Study of Early Modern Women's 2014 Award for a Teaching Edition published in 2013
Why did pregnancy and birth attract so much attention in early modern France? This edition translates and discusses works by four key physicians and one surgeon, revealing how these practitioners are distinguished by their particularly caring attitudes.
Winner of the Society for the Study of Early Modern Women's 2014 Josephine Roberts Award for a Scholarly Edition published in 2013
The Other Voice's edition of Barbara Torelli's pastoral drama Partenia (c. 1586) is a groundbreaking contribution to the study of early modern Italian literature and women's writing. This is the first ever print edition of the earliest secular play by an Italian woman, acclaimed at the time of its composition.
Winner of the Society for the Study of Early Modern Women's 2014 Award for a Translation published in 2013
This volume brings together the two most influential voices in the Spanish querelle des femmes, Pere Torrellas (ca. 1420 - ca. 1492) and Juan de Flores (d. ca. 1503). Torrellas' Slander against Women (ca. 1445) and Flores' Grisel and Mirabella (ca. 1475) circulated widely among Spanish readers from the time of their composition throughout the sixteenth century.
Winner of the Society for the Study of Early Modern Women's 2013 Award for a Translation published in 2012
Arcangela Tarabotti (1604-1652) was compelled to become a nun against her will. Tarabotti used her 1650 Letters—here published in translation for the first time—to defend and build her literary reputation while she also documented rough-and-tumble literary society in early modern Venice and material existence in an early modern convent.
Winner of the Society for the Study of Early Modern Women's 2013 Josephine Roberts Award for a Scholarly Edition published in 2012
This is the first printed edition of a manuscript collection of verse important for an understanding of the culture of Henry VIII's court and women's central role in the exchange and enjoyment of poetry.
The letters of Margherita Datini to her husband, Francesco di Marco Datini (the subject of Iris Origo's popular biography, The Merchant of Prato), are here translated into English for the first time as a complete collection. They provide a fascinating portrait of urban life in late-medieval Tuscany and give us entrée to the couple's loving but volatile relationship.
For her last published volume, Lucrezia Marinella (1571?-1653) summons all her erudition and persuasive skill for a discussion of issues ranging from women's behavior to childrearing to the virtues necessary for orderly civic life. The author's bleak portrayal of an educated woman's life, together with her praise of traditional female virtues, is emblematic of the negative attitudes towards women's creativity and learning that had become prominent in seventeenth-century Italian culture.
This edition of the writings of Elizabeth Cooke Hoby Russell (1540-1609) unites in one volume the varied corpus of a prolific early modern woman writer, including her unpublished correspondence, manuscript poems, monumental inscriptions and elegies, courtroom appearances, and ceremonial performances, as well as her printed translation, A Way of Reconciliation of a Good and Learned Man. In these formidable writings, women's erudition is defended as an inalienable birthright and a defining feature of femininity.
This volume presents in English the selected works of Liubov Krichevskaya (1800–1841?), arguably the first professional woman of letters in Ukraine. At times hopeful, at other times despairing, her literary works, written in Russian, explore the theme of woman's agency in contemporary society and include dramas, novellas, lyric poetry and an epistolary novel.
The Chronicle of Le Murate, completed by Sister Giustina Niccolini in 1598, is one of a small number of surviving documents that presents a nun's own interpretation and synthesis of historical events. It recounts the roughly two hundred–year history of Florence's largest convent, which attracted boarders, nuns and patrons from Italy's elite families. The manuscript provides a rare view of life behind the enclosure walls and of nuns' interaction with the world outside.
A critical edition of the philosophical correspondence between the seventeenth–century philosopher, Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz, and his two royal patronesses, Electress Sophie of Hanover and her daughter, Queen Sophie Charlotte of Prussia. This is the first English translation of all the philosophically important material from the two correspondences.
In late seventeenth-century France, the conte de feés, or fairy tale, became a fashionable new genre. It was sophisticated and ironic women who not only inaugurated the vogue but also produced sixty–eight of the one hundred twelve tales published 1690–1709. This collection presents eight fairy tales (most never before translated into English) by the most prominent women authors.
Valeria Miani's Celinda (1611), the only female–authored secular tragedy of early modern Italy, is here made available for the first time in a modern edition. Miani's tale of the doomed love of the Lydian princess Celinda for the cross–dressed Persian prince Autilio/Lucinia offers a striking example of the explorative attitude to gender identity that is such a marked characteristic of Italian drama in this period.
One of the most acclaimed French poets from the turn of the eighteenth century and one of the rare women of the time to achieve recognition at court, Louise-Geneviève Gillot de Sainctonge was France's first female librettist. This volume provides the most in-depth biography of her ever published, but also the first appearance of any of her work in English.
Two Women of the Great Schism: The Revelations of Constance de Rabastens by Raymond de Sabanac and Life of the Blessed Ursulina of Parma by Simone Zanacchi
The Great Schism (1378–1417) divided Western Christendom into two groups: those who recognized a pope in Rome and those who recognized one in Avignon. This volume brings to life the extraordinary spiritual and political engagement of two late medieval women who refused to be passive bystanders as rival papal factions tore Christendom apart.
Winner of the Society for the Study of Early Modern Women's 2010 Josephine Roberts Award for a Scholarly Edition published in 2009
Five nuns set out in the early 1700s from their cloistered convent in Madrid, Spain, to travel halfway around the world to Lima, Peru. The journey lasted three years -- an odyssey not all of them would complete.