ENL 6236:  Restoration Literature                                              Fall 2004

Dr. Runge                                                                                 CPR 351


Sept. 15:  Gender, Sex and Marriage – The Querelle des Femmes.


Readings (photocopy packet)


A discoverie of six women preachers, in Middlesex, Kent, Cambridgshire, and Salisbury. VVith a relation of their names, manners, life, and doctrine, pleasant to be read, but horrid to be judged of their names are these. Anne Hempstall. Mary Bilbrow. Ioane Bauford. Susan May. Elizab. Bancroft. Arabella Thomas (London, 1641)

Microfilm: Early English books, 1641-1700; 92:7, 254:E.166[1]


[Neville, Henry.] The ladies, a second time, assembled in Parliament· A continuation of the Parliament of ladies. Their votes, orders, and declarations. Die Martis August 2. 1647. Ordered by the ladies assembled in Parliament, that these their votes, orders, and declarations, be forthwith printed and published. T. Temple Cler. Mrs Martha Peele Messenger (London: 1647).

Microfilm Thomason Tracts; 64:E.406[23].


To the supream authority of this nation, the Commons assembled in Parliament: the humble petition of divers wel-affected women inhabiting the cities of London, Westminster, the borough of Southwark, hamblets, and places adjacent; (affecters and approvers of the late large petition) of the eleventh of September, 1648. In behalf of Lieutenant Col. John Lilburn, Mr. William Walwyn, Mr. Thomas Prince, and Mr. Richard Overton, (now prisoners in the Tovver of London) and Captain William Bray, close-prisoner in Windsor-Castle; and Mr. William Savvyer, prisoner at White-Hall, (London, 1649).


To the supreme authority, the Commons of England assembled in Parliament. The humble petition of divers well-affected women of the cities of London and Westminster, the borough of Southwark, hamblets, and parts adjacent. Affectersand approvers of the petition of Sept. 11. 1648 (London, 1649).


Fox, George.  The vvoman learning in silence: or, The mysterie of the womans subiection to her husband· As also, the daughter prophesying, wherein the Lord hath, and is fulfilling that he spake by the prophet Joel, I will poure out my spirit upon all flesh, &c. Given forth by George Fox (London, 1656).

Thomason Tracts; 131:E.870[8]


Fell (Fox), Margaret. Womens speaking justified, proved and allowed of by the Scriptures, all such as speak by the spirit and power of the Lord Jesus. And how women were the first that preached the tidings of the resurrection of Jesus, and were sent by Christ's own command, before he ascended to the Father, John 20:17 (London, 1666).

Early English books, 1641-1700 1010:7


Jesserson, Susanna. A bargain for bachelors, or, The best wife in the world for a penny fairly offered to young-men for directing their choice, and to maids for their imitation by Mrs. Susanna Jesserson (London, 1675).

Early English books, 1641-1700; 108:9


[Gould, Robert]. Love given o're: or, A Satyr against the pride, lust, and inconstancy, &c. of woman (London, 1683).

Facsimile. Los Angeles, CA: William Andrews Clark Memorial Library, University of California, Los Angeles, 1968. (The Augustan Reprint Society : no. 180).


[Fyge, Sarah]. The female advocate: or, An answer to a late satyr against the pride, lust and inconstancy of woman. Written by a lady in vindication of her sex. Licens'd, June 2. 1686 (London, 1686).

Early English Books, 1641-1700; 867:21.


[Ames, Richard]. Sylvia's revenge, or; A satyr against man; in answer to the Satyr against woman. (London: 1688).

Early English books, 1641-1700; 298:26, 1663:4


Sprint, John. The bride-woman's counsellor: being a sermon preached at a wedding, May the 11th. 1699, at She[r]bourn in Dorsetshire. By John Sprint (London, 1700).

Early English Books, 1641-1700, 298:16.


[Eugenia]. The female advocate; or, A plea for the just liberty of the tender sex, and particularly of married women. Being reflections on a late rude and disingenuous discourse, delivered by Mr. John Sprint, in a sermon at a wedding, May 11th, at Sherburn in Dorsetshire, 1699. By a lady of quality. (London, 1700).

Early English books, 1641-1700 ; 1863:26 and 2568:26




These readings will be available at PRO-COPY at 4219 E. Fowler Ave, Tampa, FL  33617.  This is located in the Publix shopping center near 56th and Fowler.  The phone number is 813-988-5900.  There will be a charge of approximately $13.00.




I have left off the two petitions listed above due to copyright restriction.  These can be located in Female & Male Voices In Early Modern England : An Anthology Of Renaissance Writing / edited by Betty S. Travitsky and Anne Lake Prescott (Columbia UP, 2000), which is available as an electronic book through WebLUIS: http://www.netLibrary.com/urlapi.asp?action=summary&v=1&bookid=75825




There is a lot of reading to do for this week, but I have assigned no secondary reading for the class.  As I said before, these texts are part of the volumes I am editing for a facsimile edition with Ashgate (the total volume of texts is more than twice what you have.)  The source for the texts I have copied is microfilm copy, with the exception of the Gould, which I copied from a facsimile edition (Augustan Reprint Society #180, William Andrews Clark Memorial Library, UCLA).  You have the text, the microfilm source, the English Short Title Catalogue information, and sometimes my very own notes.


The works can be broken down roughly into four categories:

Government Politics:  Neville’s The Ladies a Second Time and the petitions

Religious Politics:  A Discoverie of Six Women Preachers, Woman’s Learning in Silence, Women’s Speaking Justified.

Satires and Defenses of Women: Jesserson, Gould, Fyge Egerton and Ames

Marriage Polemic: Sprint and Eugenia



Your general understanding of the history of the period will help in forging a comprehensive view of the very different issues taken up within the texts.  Many of these, like Absalom and Achitophel, were published as pamphlets (and thus are quite short).  The last work, by Eugenia (which is a common pseudonym that means “High-born”), is the longest, and it was published as a slender book in one volume.


Objectives for the class:


·                    To survey the range of discourses involved in polemical representations of women.

·                    To gain insight into the print artifacts and culture of the period 1640-1700.

·                    To provide intellectual and social context for the Restoration literature of the class.




Discussion Questions


1.                  These texts participate in the querelle des femmes, what Joan Kelly Gadol calls “a solid, four-hundred-year-old tradition of women thinking about women and sexual politics in European society before the French Revolution.”  After reading these texts, what broad outlines or generalizations could you make about gender relations and the status of women in particular?


2.                  One characteristic of the querelle is that the texts speak directly and indirectly to other texts in a more or less sustained argument.  What “conversations” take place within these texts?  For example, to what extent does Neville’s satire on women in parliament address the fact of women’s petitions to the parliament?  How do the sermons by Fox and Fell address criticism issued in “A Discoverie of Six Women Preachers.”  More directly, how do Fige and Ames respond to Gould (and in the case of Ames, for what purpose)?  What is the relationship between Sprint and Eugenia’s text?


3.                  How do governmental or parliamentary politics intersect with categories of sex and gender?  To what ends are such categories used?  By what means?


4.                  How do religious beliefs intersect with categories of sex and gender?  To what ends are such categories used?  By what means?  How does this compare with political categories and why?


5.                  Is there any evidence of the way class organizes discussions of sex and gender?  If so, how and for what purpose?  If not, how might you explain its apparent absence?


6.                  Can you say that any of these texts makes a clear argument?  What methods of argumentation are employed?  What does this tell us about the purpose, audience and success of the text?  Can you see any change or development in argumentation from, say, Fell’s “Women’s Speaking Justified” to Eugenia’s “The Female Advocate”?  Would it help to know that the ideas of Renee Descartes became widespread and influenced a number of thinkers in the latter half of the eighteenth century, including some of the Cambridge Platonists and John Locke?  How might concepts of reason facilitate discussions of female equality?


7.                  As best you can, examine the representation of seventeenth-century print and text.  The ESTC entries that I’ve attached before the photocopy provide valuable information, although it is not always correct (as in the attribution of authorship for “Eugenia’s” Female Advocate). What questions does this information raise for you?  [Be aware that you can get access to the ESTC, and you should try it out, through the Virtual Library.]  The title-page for each work operates essentially as a bibliographic entry.  How is it organized?  What information does it provide?  How does this information differ from title-pages today and what does that tell us about print culture in the seventeenth century?


8.                  Note the ways in which the text is organized on a page.  What do the different styles of presentation tell you about the different texts?  What strikes you as unusual?  What might this convention or style tell us about the print conventions and expectations of the seventeenth century?  Can you intuit anything about the readership of these texts from the representation of the artifact?


9.                  How would you evaluate these writings as literary works?  Do any of them merit further consideration based on literary value?  Do any of them provide valuable context for the study of “Dryden and his Age” or might they offer important contrast?  How do the writings of Behn and Rochester reflect or engage the attitudes represented here?  (This of course might be better answered as we read more work by Behn and Rochester).


10.              What other observations, questions, assessments can be made regarding these texts?