Bathsua Makin: Woman of Learning

Bathsua Makin: Woman of Learning

by Frances Teague

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Overview

Bathsua Reginald Makin is an important figure in women's history. A child prodigy, she was thoroughly educated in classical and modern languages at a time when most women were illiterate. She was a middle-class Englishwoman who published her own poetry, established her own school, and wrote in defense of women's right to learning. Not only did she publish but she was also "a woman of great acquaintance" who sometimes acted on her own to earn a living. She enjoyed friendships with prominent Protestant families like those of Sir Simonds D'Ewes and the Raleghs; with the leaders the English Comenian movement, like John Milton's friend Samuel Hartlib or her own brother-in-law, John Pell; and with other learned women like Anna Maria Van Schurman and Lucy, Countess of Huntingdon. She lived in poverty, yet taught a countess and a princess. Historians of linguistics, education, and literature discuss her life and works. Unfortunately, the most basic facts of her life were not known until the 1960s: scholars thought she had grown up as an orphan, whereas she was the daughter of a loving schoolmaster; they thought she had written a pamphlet about debtor's prison that is, in fact, someone else's work; they did not realize that she had published her first book, an extraordinary collection of poetry in many languages, when she was sixteen years old. This biography gathers what is known about Makin, offers new materials from archival research, and interprets the events of Makin's life within the context of women's history in seventeenth-century England. The facts about Bathsua Makin offer a glimpse both into the life of one extraordinary woman and into the problems that learned women faced in this period. Knowing about her life also helps to explain both what the works that she published mean and how she managed to achieve her reputation as England's most learned woman.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781611480900
Publisher: Bucknell University Press
Publication date: 02/01/1998
Pages: 207
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.30(h) x 0.70(d)

About the Author

Frances Teague is a Professor of English at the University of Georgia, where she teaches Renaissance drama and women's studies. Her previous books for Bucknell are The Curious History of "Bartholomew Fair" and Shakespeare's Speaking Properties. She has also edited Acting Funny and, with John Velz, One Touch of Shakespeare: Joseph Crosby's Letters. The author of over seventy essays and reviews, she has also published articles about Makin in Biography and Seventeenth-Century News. Other articles on early women writers have appeared in Shakespeare Quarterly, Katharina Wilson's anthologies, and Gloriana's Face (edited by Susan Cerasano and Marion Wynne-Davies).

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