This year’s SSEMW Book Prize winner is Eleanor Hubbard’s The City Women: Money, Sex, and Early Modern London (Oxford 2012). City Women follows the lives of regular women in London between 1570 and 1640.

City Women uses consistory depositions, broadside ballads, and satirical pamphlets to illuminate early modern women’s everyday lives.

The book’s focus on the lower-middle class tells us a lot about London and women in the 17th century. The well-researched archive material made it a fascinating read. Onscreen, the city and its inhabitants, men, and women, come alive.

Archives, quantitative analysis, and collective biography are all excellent in this work. This well-written book will be a substantial intervention with its 21 figures and tables.

Republic of Women: Rethinking the Republic of Letters in the Seventeenth Century. Cambridge, MA, 2012.



Women’s Book of Courtly Poems by Elizabeth Heale
The Toronto Series 19.
Iter Inc., 2012.

The Devonshire Manuscript by Elizabeth Heale is a noteworthy contribution to Toronto’s The Other Voice in Early Modern Europe Series, bringing a large collection of Tudor poetry to print. She aims to emphasize the gendered development and transmission of The Devonshire Manuscript, famed for its inclusion of canonical male writers like Sir Thomas Wyatt.

Lady Mary Douglas and Mary Shelton’s active participation in the Henrician court’s literary culture is vividly depicted in Heale’s introduction, which meticulously reconstructs their writing processes.

This beautifully designed book captures the original’s atmosphere by graphically reproducing the numerical and symbolic annotations. It features comparison plates of the several contributors’ hands.

This richly documented example of early modern women’s literary practices is brought vividly into view by Heale’s thoughtful, careful, and graceful scholarly edition. He.



Sarah E. Owens and Jane E. Mangan. Louisiana State University Press, 2012.

Women of the Iberian Atlantic adds to the literature on the Atlantic World and early modern women’s history. The book’s foreword questions long-held preconceptions about women’s history in early modern Europe and America.

Studies of Spain and those of colonial-Empire-future Latin America have long been separated.

The book investigates the complex interaction between Spain and her colonies through the lens of gender, questioning any existing notion of gender norms (Spanish or Colonial). Gender, rather than being a separate category from identity, nation, and empire, may be used to analyze them all.

Each item in Women of the Iberian Atlantic is academic. The authors’ ideas are based on the lives of women who moved, wrote, preached, ruled, and healed in a variety of culturally diverse and dynamic circumstances.

Thus, the works provide new views on early modern women. Women of the Iberian Atlantic can be used for both research and teaching.

Meredith K. Ray and Lynn Lara Westwater edited and translated Arcangela Tarabotti’s Letters Familiar and Formal. 20th in the Toronto Early Modern Europe Series. Iter Inc., 2012.

Ray and Westwater illuminate the Venetian nun’s life and achievements in this edited translation of her writings. Tarabotti, in her treatises, condemned male perfidy and the practice of sending unwanted daughters to convents.

This 1650 collection of letters illustrates her active participation in the literary world and her intellectual and social interactions with the persons she wrote with. This intellectual and appealing rendition of her texts is expected to regain her prominence.

The prologue describes Tarabotti’s cultural, political, and literary milieu as a nun at the convent and explores Venice’s social and theological inclinations in the seventeenth century.

The editor’s job is made easy by the letters’ sophisticated wording and seeming lack of chronology or topic order. Whether or not they can read Italian, scholars will gain much from Ray and Westwater’s work.



T. Festa and M. Dowd.
Early Modern Women’s Essays on Falling. Studies in Medieval and Renaissance Texts ASU, Tempe, 2012.

Early Modern Women on the Fall by Michelle M. Dowd and Thomas Festa is a great teaching version. This collection includes Amelia Lanyer’s “Salve Deus Judaeorum” (1611) and Lady Mary Chudleigh’s “The Ladie’s Defense” (1625). (1701).

It was possible to highlight the diversity of 17th century English women’s literature by concentrating on female interpretations and modifications of biblical tales of the fall.

Poems, edifice instructions, and grandiose rewrites of Genesis were among the works produced.

Women from diverse social, religious, literary, and philosophical backgrounds are presented on these pages to help students understand the diversity of early modern women’s writing. Dowd and Feste explore key political, religious, and social issues in their introduction.

These women’s writings are no more isolated products of unique biographical concerns but are placed within bigger philosophical ideas. One of this anthology’s most notable contributions is that it openly states that women writers made major and eloquent contributions to early modern civilization.



Meditation of a repentant sinner and the difficulty of attribution, Serjeantson, Anne Lock Renaissance English Literature: Mysteries and Answers. Besides Sweetnam and Cooney. Fort Courts Press, 2012, Portland, OR, 51-68.

It examines two works published in 1560, an English translation of four sermons Calvin preached in Geneva in 1558, and a sonnet sequence, A Meditation of a repentant sinner: composed as a paraphrase upon the 51st Psalm of David.

Though A. L.’s translation has his initials, the opening sonnet sequence in English does not.

Serjeantson attributes both writings to Anne Lock while examining past attempts to confirm authorship. Serjeantson’s study of Marian exiles, worried about heresy, wanting to influence Elizabeth’s religious policy, and differing attitudes about women’s ecclesiastical authority, examines authorship issues.

By putting Lock in a close network of female and male radical Protestants, Serjeantson wonderfully recreates the dynamics and incentives that may have caused Lock to resist claiming authorship of Meditation.

“Where Had All the Flowers Gone?” by Diana Henderson. 139-165 Female Sonneteers in Seventeenth-Century England: The Missing Space (Winter 2012).

Year’s Art and Media Project
by Paul Salzman:

Paul Salzman has masterfully reinterpreted Mary Wroth’s Poetry in electronic form. The website is easy to use and shows students and scholars the importance of edition differences.

This site allows teachers to teach poetry and the materiality of texts while providing new insights into women’s history.

WORST PRESENTATION Erin McCarthy’s Gendering Inclusivity and Accessibility by Aemilia Lanyer (At the RSA Conference in 2012)

McCarthy’s paper on Aemilia Lanyer’s poetry collection mixes thorough textual readings with intelligent analysis.

For early modern women, publishing in print brought her new options, but also new limits. McCarthy skillfully navigates a complicated web of factors ranging from rhetorical techniques and dedications to paper volume utilized for collecting and print business.

2013 Award Recipients

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