Mary Astell: Reason, Gender, Faith includes essays from diverse disciplinary perspectives to consider the full range of Astell's political, theological, philosophical, and poetic writings. The volume does not eschew the more traditional scholarly interest in Astell's concerns about gender; rather, it reveals how Astell's works require attention not only for their role in the development of early modern feminism, but also for their interventions on subjects ranging from political authority to educational theory, from individual agency to divine service, and from Cartesian ethics to Lockean epistemology. Given the vast breadth of her writings, her active role within early modern political and theological debates, and the sophisticated complexity of her prose, Astell has few parallels among her contemporaries. Mary Astell: Reason, Gender, Faith bestows upon Astell the attention which she deserves not merely as a proto-feminist, but as a major figure of the early modern period.

    Chapter 1 “Dreading to Engage Her”, WilliamKolbrener, MichalMichelson; Chapter 2 Mary Astell, Religion, and Feminism, SharonAchinstein; Chapter 3 Mary Astell, A Serious Proposal to the Ladies (1694), and the Anglican Reformation of Manners in Late-Seventeenth-Century England, HannahSmith; Chapter 4 Astell’s “Design of Friendship” in Letters and A Serious Proposal, Part I, WilliamKolbrener; Chapter 5 Mary Astell and John Locke, MarkGoldie; Chapter 6 Mary Astell’s Law of the Heart, CorrinneHarol; Chapter 7 Religious Nonconformity and the Problem of Dissent in the Works of Aphra Behn and Mary Astell, MelindaZook; Chapter 8 “Great in Humilitie”, ClairePickard; Chapter 9 “Tis better that I endure”, Ann JessieVan Sant; Chapter 10 Mary Astell on the Causation of Sensation, EileenO’Neill; Chapter 11 Astell, Cartesian Ethics, and the Critique of Custom, JacquelineBroad; Chapter 12 Are You Experienced?, E. DerekTaylor; Chapter 13 “Cry up Liberty”, Hilda L.Smith;


    William Kolbrener is an Associate Professor and Michal Michelson is a President's Fellow, both in the Department of English at Bar-Ilan University, Israel.

    ’This is an excellent collection and contributes much to an understanding of Astell in her contemporary contexts.’ Ecclesiastical History ’This is exactly the sort of anthology of Astell's writings which is needed in English. Mary Astell: Reason, Gender, Faith makes an excellent critical companion... as well as being an important new contribution to the study of Mary Astell in its own right.’ Gender & History ’Gracefully acknowledging the earlier feminist recovery work, this collection moves past benchmark labels to position Astell within the discourses of power, authority, and spirituality in her lifetime... essential reading for its portrayal of a woman fully engaged with the central intellectual debates of her times.’ The Scriblerian