Rachel Speght Further Reading - Essay

Further Reading

(Literary Criticism (1400-1800))


Lewalski, Barbara Kiefer. “Old Renaissance Canons, New Women's Texts: Some Jacobean Examples.” Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society 138, no. 3 (September 1994): 397-406.

Argues that the works of Jacobean-era women like Speght deserve inclusion in the canon of English Renaissance literature to promote a better understanding of gender relations during the period.

———. Introduction to The Polemics and Poems of Rachel Speght, edited by Barbara Kiefer Lewalski, pp. xi-xxxvi. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1996.

Provides an introduction to Speght's poems and polemics, elaborating on arguments in Lewalski's 1993 essay, “Defending Women's Essential Equality.”

———. “Female Text, Male Reader Response: Contemporary Marginalia in Rachel Speght's A Mouzell for Melastomus.” In Representing Women in Renaissance England, edited by Claude J. Summers and Ted-Larry Pebworth, pp. 136-62. Columbia: University of Missouri Press, 1997.

Outlines the central arguments of Speght's A Muzzle for Melastomus before describing the pointed attack on Speght in particular and women in general in annotations found in the margins of an early copy of Speght's work.

———. “Rachel Speght.” In Teaching Tudor and Stuart Women Writers, edited by Susanne Woods and Margaret P. Hannay, pp. 174-84. New York: The Modern Language Association, 2000.

Provides general information on Speght's background, thematic concerns, and place in the debate about the nature and role of women during the Jacobean period.

McManus, Barbara. “Eve's Dowry: Genesis and the Pamphlet Controversy about Women.” In Women, Writing, and the Reproduction of Culture in Tudor and Stuart Britain, edited by Mary E. Burke, Jane Donawerth, Linda L. Dove, and Karen Nelson, pp. 193-206. Syracuse, N.Y.: Syracuse University Press, 2000.

Discusses five pamphlets written between 1588 and 1640, all presumably by women, including Speght's A Muzzle for Melastomus and Mortalities Memorandum, which challenged male-centered interpretations of gender relations in Genesis.

Shepherd, Simon. Introduction to The Women's Sharp Revenge: Five Women Pamphlets from the Renaissance, edited by Simon Shepherd, pp. 9-23. London: Fourth Estate, 1985.

Argues that although Speght and other women who wrote about gender issues between 1580 and 1640 cannot be labeled “feminists,” their qualified defenses of women established important historical precedents.

Additional coverage of Speght's life and career is contained in the following source published by the Gale Group: Dictionary of Literary Biography, Vol. 126.