Under the Veil: Feminism and Spirituality in Post-Reformation England and Europe

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9781443838924: Under the Veil: Feminism and Spirituality in Post-Reformation England and Europe

For women in early modern Europe, the Reformation and the Enlightenment entailed both new freedom and new restrictions. In response to an ideology that immured the female mind and spirit inside the body, women found in religion a hope for individual freedom, a sense of self-identity, and a justification for gender equality. Under the Veil: Feminism and Spirituality in Post-Reformation Europe invokes the veil's dual significance, as the marker of the religious woman, and as the metaphoric veil separating female interior life from its public construction. This collection of nine essays focuses specifically on the direct links between emergent feminism and religious faith as experienced through wide cultural, geographic, and confessional differences, united by themes of female subjectivity, selfhood, autonomy, and community. The essays range in topic and scope from the early seventeenth to the early nineteenth centuries, across Europe, Britain, and North America, through a wide range of experiences and written accounts - its subjects are Philadelphian visionaries and Quaker missionaries, Iroquois leaders and early Canadian nuns, Islamic societies and European female travellers, French mystics and educators, and British writers and intellectuals. These accounts reveal how women across a wide spectrum of formal beliefs and cultural backgrounds found in religion a way to negotiate the restrictions of their outward lives, and a radical source of personal and collective independence and value.

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About the Author:

KATHERINE QUINSEY is currently Head of the English Department at the University of Windsor, Canada. She has published extensively on the poetry of Pope and of Dryden, as well as on Restoration drama, Anne Finch, Canadian poet Margaret Avison, and Biblical tradition in English literature. She is editor of Broken Boundaries: Women and Feminism in Restoration Drama, and co-editor of a special issue of Canadian Poetry devoted to the work of Avison (2007). Her forthcoming projects are two books on Pope: one on his religious sensibility, Tempting Grace: The Religious Imagination of Alexander Pope, and a study of Pope, rhetoric, and print culture, Rhyme and Print: Pope, Poetry, and the Material Text. Dr Quinsey has additional research interests in ecopoetics, religion, and animal welfare in the eighteenth century.

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