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Reading Early Modern Women's Writing$
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Paul Salzman

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780199261048

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199261048.001.0001

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Prophets and Visionaries

Prophets and Visionaries

(p.109) 5 Prophets and Visionaries
Reading Early Modern Women's Writing

Paul Salzman (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

This chapter explores the many forms of women's prophetic writings, many of which redefined religious possibilities for women, especially within radical religious groups, which accordingly allowed for a political intervention on their part. It utilizes four women to represent different strands in this phenomenon. It views the different ways in which their writing was received and either abandoned or preserved. It first analyses Lady Eleanor Davies/Douglas' writings, an aristocratic woman whose visions and prophecies ultimately set her against both King Charles I and Cromwell. It then examines the writings of the fifth Monarchist Anna Trapnel, whose visions occurred during a particularly delicate stage in the Interregnum during the Barebones Parliament (1654). The third is Margaret Fell, who was the most significant Quaker besides George Fox in the 17th century. Lastly, Jane Lead's writings, in contrast to Fell's, lapsed into obscurity with the decline of her religious group, the Philadelphian Society.

Keywords:   prophets, visionaries, religion, politics, Lady Eleanor Davies, Anna Trapnel, Margaret Fell, Quakerism, Jane Lead, Philadelphian Society

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