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The Polemics and Poems of Rachel Speght (Women Writers in English 1350-1850)

The Polemics and Poems of Rachel Speght (Women Writers in English 1350-1850)
Author: Rachel Speght
ISBN 13: 9780195086157
ISBN 10: 195086155
Edition: 1
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Publication Date: 1996-06-20
Format: Paperback
Pages: 144
List Price: $56.00

Rachel Speght was the first Englishwoman to identify herself, unmistakably and by name, as a polemicist and critic of contemporary gender ideology. This edition includes her foray into the Jacobean gender wars and her collected poems. Speght's tract, A Mouzell for Melastomus (1617), is at once a spirited answer to Joseph Swetnam's attack on women and a serious effort to stake women's claim to the prevailing Protestant discourse of biblical exegesis, in order to define a more expansive and more equitable concept of gender. Speght's volume of poems, Mortalities Memorandum with a Dreame Prefixed (1621)—printed, in part, to counter charges that her prose was actually her father's—includes a long memento mori meditation and an allegorical dream vision that recounts her own rapturous encounter with learning. Both texts vigorously defend women's education and promote women's talents. This latest addition to the Women Writers in English series should find a ready audience among scholars and students of early seventeenth-century literature, history, and religion, as well as among those in women's studies.