Women and the Bible in Early Modern England provides an account of the uniquely important role of the Bible in the development of female interpretative and literary agency, as well as in the expression of female subjectivity in early modern England. In the later sixteenth and throughout the seventeenth century women's religious writing diversified in genre and entered increasingly into a public literary sphere. Femke Molekamp shows that the Bible was at
the heart of female reading culture, and that women can be seen to have participated in multiple modes of reading it, which, in turn, fostered various kinds of literary writing.
The sources used in this book to reconstruct reading practices, and trace their connection to religious writing, are drawn from diverse archives, to include the annotations, biographical writing, commonplace books, letters, treatises, and other literary writings in print and manuscript of both prominent early modern women well known to us, and women who have so far remained obscure. The book argues that the increased circulation of the Bible in English fostered reading practices that enabled a
growth in female interpretative and literary agency.
Femke Molekamp is currently a Global Research Fellow at the Institute of Advanced Studies/Centre for the Study of the Renaissance, University of Warwick. Prior to this she has held both AHRC and Leverhulme Early Career Fellowships at Warwick. She specializes in early modern religious literature, women's writing, and the history of emotion.
Introduction: The Vernacular Bible and Early Modern Englishwomen: Shifting Possibilities ; 1. The Geneva Bible in the Household ; 2. Early Modern Englishwomen and Modes of Bible-Reading ; 3. Female Religious Community: Reading and Writing ; 4. Women and Affective Religious Reading and Writing ; 5. The Sidney-Herbert Psalms and the Countess of Pembroke as a Reader of the Geneva Bible ; 6. Regarding the Passion: Aemelia Lanyer, Constance Aston Fowler, and Elizabeth Delaval ; Epilogue: The Female Bible-Reader: 'no longer a consumer but a producer of texts'