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Mary Hays and the Imagined Female Communities of Early Modern Europe

Capern, Amanda


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Dr Amanda Capern
Senior Lecturer in Early Modern Women's History


Gina Luria Walker


This research essay is appears in a collection of essays written by the subject-expert sub-editors who worked on a three year research project with a team in New York under PI Gina Luria Walker to produce a modern multi-volume edition of Mary Hay, Female Biography (1803). The research chapter uses primary textual sources to demonstrate how Mary Hays selectively used her sources to highlight a particular brand of Anglican femininity in the English past. Hays 'imagined female historical communities' as stretching back to Christine de Pisan in an unbroken line to the Anglican women of her day, using real women like Dorothy Pakington and even fabricated ideal English women like Harriet Harcourt to create an Anglo-feminine 'virtue' that was central to the English feminism of the early 19th century.


Capern, A. (2017). Mary Hays and the Imagined Female Communities of Early Modern Europe. In G. L. Walker (Ed.), The Invention of Female Biography (174-198). Abingdon: Routledge

Acceptance Date Aug 1, 2017
Publication Date Oct 30, 2017
Deposit Date May 5, 2019
Publisher Routledge
Pages 174-198
Series Title Chawton studies in scholarly editing
Book Title The Invention of Female Biography
Chapter Number 9
ISBN 978-1-8489-3600-3
Keywords Women's History; Feminist History; Feminist Historiography; Mary Hays; Early Modern Women
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