The works by the four protestant women authors collected in this volume participate in the ars moriandi (art of dying) tradition which became increasingly powerful over the 16th and 17th centuries. The moment of death was thought to reveal the ’true’ state of the individual’s soul. This volume provides four varying forms of heroic subjectivity offered by middle class and aristocratic women by the act of dying well. In all four cases their heroic deaths also proclaimed and thus helped to define specifically Protestant doctrines. When so few women’s words appeared in print, this ideological function probably represented a primary reason for the recording and publishing of these works.
Table of Contents
Contents: Introductory Note; Jane [Grey] Dudley, from Actes and Monumentes...(1570) : The Communication had betwene the Lady Iane and Fecknam; A Letter of the Lady Iane sent unto her Father; An other Letter of the Lady Iane to M.H.; A Letter Written by the Lady Iane...unto her Sister Lady Katherine; A certayne effectuall prayer; Wordes that the Lady Iane spake upon the scaffolde; Certayne prety verses wrytten by the sayd Lady Iane wyth a pynne. (1570); Katherine (Emmes) Stubbes, from A Christall Glasse...(1606): A moste heavenly confession of the Christian faith; A moste wonderfull conflict betwixt Sathan and her soule. (1506); Eleanor (Hay) Livingston: The Confession and Conversion... (1629); Bessie Clarksone: The Conflict in conscience of a deare Christian... (1631).