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Rachel Speght entry: Overview screen.
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Life
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Rachel Speght stands out among authors of polemic answers to Joseph Swetnam's offensive misogynist pamphlet of 1615. Her editor Barbara Kiefer Lewalski observes that she is the first Englishwoman to identify herself solidly by name (granted that there must be some doubt about the genuine identity of Jane Anger) in contributing to the gender controversy known as the querelle des femmes. Bibliographic Citation link. Her known writings comprise two poems, allegorical and devotional (the earlier one being her intervention in polemical debate), and two petitions of much later date.
Milestones
Between August 3, 1596 and August 2, 1597 RS was born, perhaps in Cambridge, since there is no record of her birth in London. Bibliographic Citation link.
14 November 1616 RS's A Mouzell for Melastomus (a polemical reply to Joseph Swetnam's Araignment of Lewde, idle, froward [sic], and unconstant Women, 1615) was listed in the Stationers' Register. Bibliographic Citation link.
1617 RS's A Mouzell for Melastomus (i.e. for Joseph Swetnam) is dated this year, though it may have appeared before the end of 1616. Bibliographic Citation link.
18 January 1621 RS entered in the Stationers' Register Mortalities Memorandum, with a Dreame Prefixed, Imaginarie in Manner; Reall in Matter. Bibliographic Citation link.
March 1647 Rachel Procter (formerly RS) submitted a second petition, requesting that the man who had taken over her husband's forfeited benefice should be liable for the excise payments on it. Bibliographic Citation link.
RS could have died at any time after her second petition in March 1647 but before her husband made his final will in 1661 (which does not mention her). Bibliographic Citation link.
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