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Book Chapter

The Intellectual Culture of Puritan Women, 1558-1680 (Foreword)

Keeble N (2010) The Intellectual Culture of Puritan Women, 1558-1680 (Foreword). In: Harris J & Scott-Baumann E (eds.) The Intellectual Culture of Puritan Women, 1558-1680. Early Modern Literature in History. Basingstoke, UK: Palgrave Macmillan, pp. ix-xiv.

From first paragraph: The intellectual prospects for Puritan women, or, indeed, for a collection of essays devoted to them, might not appear particularly bright. It is not difficult to come by examples of early modern Puritan opinion such as that of John Winthrop, governor of Massachusetts in the 1630s and ’40s, who was in no doubt that the ‘sad infirmity, the loss of her understanding and reason’ suffered by Anne Hopkins, the wife of the governor of Connecticut, came about 'by occasion of her giving herself wholly to reading and writing, and had written many books. Her husband, being very loving and tender of her, was loath to grieve her; but he saw his error, when it was too late. For if she had attended her household affairs, and such things as belong to women, and not gone out of her way and calling to meddle in such things as are proper for men, whose minds are stronger, etc., she had kept her wits, and might have improved them usefully and honourably in the place God had set her'.1 Disconcertingly, highly educated Puritan women of evident creative ability could write in just these terms.

Puritanism; Women's Writing; Book history; Puritan women; Women writers

Author(s)Keeble, Neil
Title of seriesEarly Modern Literature in History
Publication date30/11/2010
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
Publisher URL
Place of publicationBasingstoke, UK
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