The querelle des femmes was a debate over the condition of women in society lasting four centuries and characteristically involved charges against female vice, folly, corruption, incontinence and lasciviousness, countered by pro-women defences and lists of exemplary women. The texts in these two volumes range from broadside parliamentary petitions to verse satire, from sermons to philosophical essays, from political diatribes to marital advice. The defences all respond to attacks on women, and although none argues for women's citizenship or social equality, many claim an original or spiritual equality, and blame custom and male corruption for female subjection. The volumes are arranged into five sections covering Politics, Preaching and Silence, Sexuality, Marriage and Two Contrapuntal Defences.
Contents: Preface by the General Editors; Introductory note. Politics: The ladies, a second time, assembled in Parliament, Henry Neville (1647); The humble petition of divers well-affected women… ([May 5] 1649); The humble representation of divers afflicted women… (?Katherine Chidley [July 25] 1653). Preaching and Silence: A discoverie of 6 women preachers (1641); The woman learning in silence, George Fox (1656); Womens speaking justified, Margaret Fell Fox (1666). Sexuality: Love given o're, Robert Gould (1682/3); The female advocate, Sarah Fyge Egerton (1687); Sylvia's revenge, Richard Ames (1688); Appendix: A bargain for bachelors, Susanna Jesserson (1675). Marriage: The bride-woman's counsellor, John Sprint (1700); The female advocate, 'Eugenia' (1700); Some reflections upon marriage (1700) and 'Preface' from Reflections Upon Marriage (3rd edition 1706), Mary Astell; The ladies defence, Mary Chudleigh (1701).