Jane Ward Lead Criticism - Essay

Nils Thune (essay date 1948)

(Literary Criticism (1400-1800))

SOURCE: Thune, Nils. “Dr. Pordage and Mrs. Leade as Religious Personalities.” In The Boehmenists and the Philadelphians: A Contribution to the Study of English Mysticism in the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries, pp. 174-212. Uppsala, Sweden: Almqvist & Wiksells, 1948.

[In this excerpt from his study of the influence of Jakob Boehme on Protestant mysticism in England, Thune takes a psychological approach to interpreting Lead's prophetic writings. Thune maintains that her personal background and the religious fervor of the mid-seventeenth century led to the sensationalism of her descriptions of spiritual experiences; however, he also argues that Lead's capacity for leadership and...

(The entire section is 16812 words.)

D. P. Walker (essay date 1964)

(Literary Criticism (1400-1800))

SOURCE: Walker, D. P. “English Philadelphians: (1) Mrs. Lead.” In The Decline of Hell: Seventeenth-Century Discussions of Eternal Torment, pp. 218-30. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1964.

[In this excerpt from his study of the belief in eternal damnation and cultural forces supporting it, Walker takes a critical stance towards the logic of Lead's doctrine of universal salvation. Walker discusses Lead's debt to Dr. John Pordage and Jakob Boehme, noting that her belief in universal salvation represents a break from the Boehmenist tradition.]

The Philadelphian Society was a small group of chiliastic mystics led by an elderly widow, Mrs Jane Lead. The name...

(The entire section is 4543 words.)

Catherine F. Smith (essay date 1979)

(Literary Criticism (1400-1800))

SOURCE: Smith, Catherine F. “Jane Lead: The Feminist Mind and Art of a Seventeenth-Century Mystic.” In Women of Spirit: Female Leadership in the Jewish and Christian Traditions, edited by Rosemary Ruether and Eleanor McLaughlin, pp. 183-204. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1979.

[In this essay, Smith uses Lead's work to suggest possible affinities between mysticism and feminism—affinities that had previously been rigorously denied. Smith analyzes Lead from the standpoint of a new feminist epistemology, one that validates inner knowing and intuition in addition to the knowledge of the external world, which had been allowed only to men.]

The idea that mysticism and...

(The entire section is 6016 words.)

Catherine F. Smith (essay date 1984)

(Literary Criticism (1400-1800))

SOURCE: Smith, Catherine F. “Jane Lead's Wisdom: Women and Prophecy in Seventeenth-Century England.” In Poetic Prophecy in Western Literature, edited by Jan Wojcik and Raymond-Jean Frontain, pp. 55-63. Rutherford, NJ: Fairleigh Dickenson University Press, 1984.

[In this essay, Smith analyses the marriage of feminine concerns and spirituality in Lead's works, focusing on the figure of Sophia, or Wisdom, who appeared to Lead in her visions. Studying several of Lead's writings, Smith notes how Lead's personal experience as a wife, an impoverished widow, and a disempowered women is reflected in the language she uses to articulate her prophecies.]

In the sevententh...

(The entire section is 5127 words.)

Paula McDowell (essay date 1998)

(Literary Criticism (1400-1800))

SOURCE: McDowell, Paula. “Oral Religio-Political Activism and Textual Production” and “Metaphors of Being and Modes of Empowerment.” In Women of Grub Street: Press, Politics and Gender in the London Literary Marketplace, pp. 128–214. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1998.

[In this excerpt from her study of the relationship between the growth of a print-based literary marketplace and the increase in feminine authorship, McDowell considers Lead's career next to those of several other literary women. McDowell discusses Lead's ability to capitalize on the print medium to disseminate her views widely, but also notes that Lead's spiritual beliefs distinguish her works from the more...

(The entire section is 9674 words.)