Paula McQuade, professor of English literature at DePaul University, is the author of a brilliant new account of Catechisms and Women’s Writing in Seventeenth-Century England (Cambridge University Press, 2017). This book opens up an entirely new field for the study of early modern women’s writing, but it also pushes beyond other scholarly conventions to prompt new discussions about the purpose and performance of catechising, the character of household religion and its relationship to education and particularly the teaching of literacy, as well as the capacity of women to create systems of doctrine, with sometimes surprising sources and results. But the book raises other questions as well, not least why it is that the recovery of early modern religion, and particularly the religion of early modern women, so often takes place within literature departments. Catechisms and Women’s Writing in Seventeenth-Century England is a major statement in early modern religious history, and a ground-breaking work in the recovery of early modern women’s voices.
Crawford Gribben is a professor of history at Queen’s University Belfast. His research interests focus on the history of puritanism and evangelicalism, and he is the author most recently of John Owen and English Puritanism (Oxford University Press, 2016).
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