Remarkable Women in a Remarkable Age. On the Genesis of the English Public Sphere, 1642-1752

Eleonora Cappuccilli


During the era of the English Revolutions and shortly after that, some spaces, albeit limited, of female visibility open up. Thanks to the window of opportunity caused by the collapse of censorship, the participation in the radical sects and in the Civil war, some remarkable women succeed in introducing themselves in the public sphere, shaping it since its very genesis. Moreover, analysing law institutions as jointure and feoffment, the attempt is to reconstruct some fragments of juridical female autonomy, which belie the total pervasiveness of coverture in the XVII century. As in private law, in public law women, in the role of queens, gain centrality: the principle of female authority, while safeguards the holding of the monarchical regime, destabilizes its patriarchal structure. Going through the works of Katherine Chidley, Margaret Cavendish, Damaris Masham and Mary Astell, the essay aims at reconstructing women's public voice, a voice which upsets the consolidated frames and subverts the established positions, questioning the same social hierarchies.


Protofeminism; Public sphere; Equity; Patriarchalism; English Revolution

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DOI: 10.6092/issn.1825-9618/5288


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