'A womans answer is neuer to seke': Early Modern Jestbooks, 1526–1635
Essential Works for the Study of Early Modern Women: Series III, Part Two, Volume 8
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By turns witty and inane, crude and learned, scurrilous and moralistic, jestbooks offer an important and often overlooked viewpoint on the lives of women in early modern England. This volume reproduces seven jestbooks with connections to early modern Englishwomen as well as showing something of the broad genre itself. Four have a direct connection to women through their jests and framing (Wyddow Edyth, VVestward for Smelts, Long Meg of VVestminster, and Pasqvils Iests), excerpts from two books specifically focus on women in some sections (The Schoolemaster and Wits Fittes and Fancies) and the volume also includes the extremely popular, general jestbook (A C. Mery Talys).
Table of Contents
Contents: Preface by the General Editors; Introductory note; A,C, Mery Talys (1526); Walter Smith, XII Mery Jests of the Wyddow Edyth (anonymous ed., 1573); T[homas] T[wyne], tr. [Mensa Philosophica], 'The fourth Booke, of Table Philosophie' (sigs. O1-V2v), 'A Table contayning the principall matters' (sigs. V3-V4v) in The Schoolemaster , or Teacher of Table Philosophie (1576); Anthony Copley, tr. [Melchor de Santa Cruz], 'To the Right Honourable, George, Earle of Cvmberland (sig. A2-A2v), 'To the Gentleman Readers' (sig. A3), Dedicatory epistles; 'Of Love and Lovers' (sigs. K4-L2), 'Of Hvsbands, and Wiving' (sigs. L2-L4), 'Of Women' (sigs. L4-M3v), 'Of Cvckolds' (sigs. M3v-M4v) in Wits Fittes and Fancies (1595); Westward for Smelts ... Written by Kinde Kit of Kingstone (1620); Pasqvils Iests: with the Merriments of Mother Bunch (1635); The Life of Long Meg of VVestminster (1635).
Ian Munro is Associate Professor in the Department of Drama at the Claire Trevor School of Arts, University of California, Irvine, USA.