This volume challenges the view that women have not contributed to the historical development of political ideas, and highlights the depth and complexity of women's political thought in the centuries prior to the French Revolution. From the late medieval period to the enlightenment, a significant number of European women wrote works dealing with themes of political significance. The essays in this collection examine their writings with particular reference to the ideas of virtue, liberty, and toleration. The figures discussed include Christine de Pizan, Catherine d'Amboise, Isabella d'Este, Elizabeth I, Katherine Chidley, Elizabeth Poole, Margaret Cavendish, Damaris Masham, Mary Astell, Elizabeth Carter, Catharine Macaulay, Mary Wollstonecraft, and Cornélie Wouters. These women actively contributed to the political practice and discourse of their times. TOC:From the contents List of Illustrations.- Acknowledgements and Note on the Text.- Notes on Contributors.- Introduction.- 1. Political Thought as Improvisation.- 2. Phronesis Feminised.- 3. Catherine d'Amboise's Livre des Prudents et Imprudents.- 4. "Machiavelli in Skirts" Isabella d'Este and Politics.- 5. Liberty and the Right of Resistance: 6. Margaret Cavendish and the False Universal.- 7. The Social and Political Thought of Damaris Cudworth Masham.- 8. "Our Religion and Liberties": Mary Astell's Christian Political Polemics.- 9. Virtue, God, and Stoicism in the Thought of Elizabeth Carter and Catharine Macaulay.- 10. Catharine Macaulay and Mary Wollstonecraft on the Will.- 11. Keeping Ahead of the English? A Defence of Jews by Cornélie Wouters, Baroness of Vasse (1790).- Bibliography.- Index.
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