Fall 2018

Polemical Women of the Seventeenth Century

Listed in: English, as ENGL-300  |  Sexuality, Women's and Gender Studies, as SWAG-302


Amanda K. Henrichs (Section 01)


(Offered as ENGL 300 and SWAG 302) [Before 1800] The seventeenth century was a time of rapid and profound political, religious, and social change in England. Civil wars saw the execution of a divinely-sanctioned monarch; new lands were colonized; new forms of science changed the way the universe was perceived; religious and social shifts reframed the definition of marriage. Through it all, women wrote, and they increasingly wrote for audiences outside their immediate familial circle. This course reads selections from women authors who wrote in, for, and sometimes at the public, and who attracted varying degrees of censure for doing so. We will consider the devotional writing of Aemilia Lanyer, royal poetry by Queen Elizabeth I, selections of a long prose romance (a precursor to the novel) by Mary Wroth, Lucy Hutchinson’s biography of her husband, Margaret Cavendish’s scientific writings, and collections of recipes, letters, and other household documents. Along the way we will consider questions such as: What counts as publication? Was there such a thing as gender in the seventeenth century? What were the social and political implications for women who decided to write, in public?

Fall semester. Five College Fellow Henrichs.


Attention to Issues of Gender and Sexuality, Attention to Research, Attention to Writing


2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2018