A newly discovered treatise from (probably) 1630s-40s states that women kick men’s skanky little butts. Well, something like that, anyway. Professor-type dude says this might have hastened along the women’s movement, had it been published.
Too bad the CNN story there doesn’t tell us much more than the thread title. The story wil be forgotten even faster than the book.
I’ve found it. The perfect nickname for my husband.
I hate to burst professor-type dude’s bubble, but this treatise isn’t that revolutionary – there was plenty of spirited debate going on at the time about whether women were good or evil, quite a few of the pro-woman arguments authored by men who may or may not have had tongues in cheek. I’m not sure any of these writers could be called a feminist by modern standards; they tend to place a handful of “famous women” on an absurdly high pedestal, with the implication that most of the others fall far short of the ideal. It’s fun stuff to read, though.
So, you’ve finally discovered the truth!
You may now kiss my hand
I’ve actually read a couple of these for my Shakespeare class last quarter – well, parts of them, anyway. Going through the very large pile of xeroxed stuff on my floor, here’s what I found:
The Woman learning in Silence: or, the Mysterie of the Womans Subiection to her Husband (George Fox, 1656). The title sounds pretty antifeminist, but it’s mostly about women prophesying in the bible, as near as I can tell (it’s pretty confusingly written).
The Glory of Women: or, A Treatise declaring the excellency and preheminence of WOMEN above MEN, which is proved both by Scripture, Law, Reason, and Authority, Divine, and Humane. (Henricus Cornelius Agrippa, trans. Edward Fleetwood, 1651). I’ve only got a very short excerpt from this one so I can’t really comment on it, but the title is intriguing.
The Womans Glorie: A Treatise, First, Asserting the due Honour of that Sexe. By manifesting that Women *are capable of the highest improvements; and instancing severall Examples of WOMENS Eminencies in
- Ability to govern
- Piety and Religion.
SECONDLY, Directing wherein that Honour chiefly consists, (viz.) in
- Soul glorie, or inward beauty.
- Modesty in cariage, language & attire.
- Piety, & Devotion.*
(Samuel Torshell, 1650). This one contains some replies to the preceding – no doubt the author read it in Latin. This seems to be exactly the kind of thing Fretful Porpentine was talking about, as most of the excerpt I have is a discussion of why silence is a virtue in women. Not the sort of thing one would call feminist.
(BTW, you can actually read a lot of this stuff at Early English Books Online – a wonderful site, if not the most user-friendly.)
Katisha: I got a registration screen when I tried your link–is this what you mean by “not user-friendly”?
If anyone’s interested in the “opposing view,” may I suggest John Knox’s First Blast of the Trumpet against the Monsterous Regiment of Women, available at male chauvinist bookstores worldwide.
Hell, how about the Boke of Margery Kempe or the Wife of Bath’s Tale?
Hmmm. Actually, I wasn’t aware of that – I generally visit the site from the library, so I didn’t know the average non-university reader would have a hard time accessing it. (It’s not the most convenient site even if you are registered, unless you know exactly what page you’re looking for…)