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Title: The Intellectual Culture of Puritan Women, 1558-1680 (Foreword)
Author(s): Keeble, Neil
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Editor(s): Harris, Johanna
Scott-Baumann, Elizabeth
Citation: 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.
Keywords: Puritanism
Women's Writing
Book history
Puritan women
Women writers
Issue Date: Nov-2010
Date Deposited: 14-Jan-2011
Series/Report no.: Early Modern Literature in History
Abstract: 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.
Rights: N. H. Keeble, 'Foreword', 2010, Palgrave Macmillan reproduced with permission of Palgrave Macmillan.; This extract is taken from the author's original manuscript and has not been edited. The definitive version of this piece may be found in The Intellectual Culture of Puritan Women, 1558-1680 edited by Johanna Harris and Elizabeth Scott-Baumann which can be purchased from

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