Mary Astell

Standard Name: Astell, Mary
Birth Name: Mary Astell
Pseudonym: A Lover of Her Sex
Pseudonym: The Author of the Proposal to the Ladies
Pseudonym: The Reflector
Pseudonym: Tom Single
Pseudonym: A very Moderate Person and Dutiful Subject of the Queen
Pseudonym: A Daughter of the Church of England
Pseudonym: Mr Wotton
Best known as a feminist theorist and polemicist, MA is also a fine poet and an energetic and funny controversialist on the political affairs of the late seventeenth and early eighteenth century. A High Anglican and High Tory in politics, she was nevertheless outspokenly radical about matters concerning gender. Her regular publisher, Rich or Richard Wilkin , was known for his piety.


Connections Sort descending Author name Excerpt
Anthologization Judith Drake
The lengthy title lists the satirical sketches that the work contains.
English Short Title Catalogue.
The attribution to JD by name comes from a catalogue published by Edmund Curll in 1741 (which mentions James Drake as arranging the publication...
Cultural formation Ann Cook
AC , apparently English and presumably white, presents an interesting study in class consciousness. She links herself with poor, low Servants in indignation at their treatment by the gentry class. She hints that her parents...
death John Norris
JN , philospher, clergyman, and friend of Mary Astell , died at his parish of Bemerton in Wiltshire, the place with which his name is generally associated.
Matthew, Henry Colin Gray et al., editors. Oxford Dictionary of National Biography.
Dedications Aphra Behn
According to its title-page, it was published in 1689.
O’Donnell, Mary Ann. Aphra Behn: An Annotated Bibliography of Primary and Secondary Sources. Garland.
It was dedicated to Hortense Mancini, duchesse de Mazarin , now settled in England (who had been, like Behn's former dedicatee Nell Gwyn, a mistress...
Dedications Elizabeth Tipper
The title-page continues: The Pilgrim's Viaticum; or, The Destitute, but not Forlorn, Being a Divine Poem, Digested from Meditations upon the Holy Scripture. The title-page quotes Psalm 119, about loving God's law. This...
Family and Intimate relationships Jane Squire
JS might be related (her father had several brothers) to the high-church John Squire of St Leonard's parish, Shoreditch, who is mentioned in The Sufferings of the Clergy, 1714, by John Walker (with...
Family and Intimate relationships Mary Eleanor Bowes, Countess of Strathmore
Her mother, born Mary Gilbert , from a gentry family in Hertfordshire, was her father's second wife, married more than twenty years after the death of his first. (That first wife, the beautiful, scholarly, fourteen-year-old...
Friends, Associates John Norris
JN conducted correspondences with a number of learned women: Mary, Lady Chudleigh (who visited him at his home), Damaris, Lady Masham (with whom his relationship ended in difference of opinion), and Elizabeth Thomas , all...
Friends, Associates Sarah Chapone
SC 's friendship with John Wesley continued after her marriage, and included Wesley's brother Charles , Mary Pendarves (later Delany) , and Mary's sister Anne Granville , who stayed at her house for a week...
Friends, Associates Elizabeth Elstob
She later told Anne Dewes that she blamed herself for having neglected several overtures of acquaintance, especially the one which Lady Betty Hastings made through the intermediary of Mary Astell while William Elstob was still...
Friends, Associates Sarah Chapone
SC was a great networker. Having met George Ballard , a local man (perhaps because her sister was a patient of his mother, who was a midwife), she introduced him to Elizabeth Elstob and to...
Friends, Associates Elizabeth Thomas
She was a friend of John Norris of Bemerton from about 1695, or sixteen years before his death.
Curll, Edmund et al. “The Life of Corinna. Written by Herself”. Pylades and Corinna, p. iv - lxxx.
Norris advised her on her study of French, and on not taking time from her serious...
Friends, Associates Mary, Lady Chudleigh
MLC 's circle of friends was largely maintained by correspondence. She discussed literary and philosophical ideas with John Dryden , Mary Astell (Almystrea in Chudleigh's poetry), Elizabeth Thomas , and other women who are...
Friends, Associates Anne Finch
AF enjoyed personal friendships with a number of distinguished men, among them Bishop Thomas Ken . She valued female friendship very highly; women friends figure prominently in her poetry. Lady Catherine Jones , to whom...
Intertextuality and Influence Sarah, Lady Cowper
The diary's first volume opens with a preface which expresses conventional modesty bluntly, without the customary effort at elegance or grace: Books generally begin with a Preface which draws in the Reader to go on...


1628: Publication began of the legal treatise known...

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Publication began of the legal treatise known to later generations as Coke upon Littleton: The first part of the Institutes of the Lawes of England, or a Commentarie upon Littleton by jurist Sir Edward Coke .

1656: Abraham Cowley published Poems; this volume,...

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Abraham Cowley published Poems; this volume, which included his Pindaric Odes and Miscellanies, confirmed his stature as the leading poet of the day.

1670: Les Pensées de M. Pascal sur la réligion,...

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Les Pensées de M. Pascal sur la réligion, et sur quelques autres sujets was posthumously published: it takes the form of a collection of aphorisms and very brief essays.

1680: Josiah Priest and his wife moved their girls'...

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Josiah Priest and his wife moved their girls' boarding school from Leicester Fields in London to Chelsea, where they took over an existing school in Gorges House.

1 April 1684: George Hickes (later a patron of Elizabeth...

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1 April 1684

George Hickes (later a patron of Elizabeth Elstob ) preached at St Bridget's Church in London a sermon on almsgiving which made particular mention of charities to benefit women, including schools and colleges along the...

January 1697: Daniel Defoe proposed in his early publication...

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January 1697

Daniel Defoe proposed in his early publication An Essay upon Projects (advertised for sale this month) the founding of an academy for women.

1697: John Evelyn included in his Numismata. A...

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John Evelyn included in his Numismata. A Discourse of Medals, Ancient and Modern a list of women famed for writing: Margaret Cavendish , Katherine Philips , Aphra Behn , Bathsua Makin , and Mary Astell .

1707: George Hickes published, as Instructions...

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George Hickes published, as Instructions for the Education of a Daughter, a translation of Fénelon 's Traité de l'éducation des filles, 1687.

Before 21 October 1714: George Berkeley compiled and published The...

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Before 21 October 1714

George Berkeley compiled and published The Ladies Library, as by a Lady.

June 1816: Lady Isabella King opened at Bailbrook House...

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June 1816

Lady Isabella King opened at Bailbrook House near Bath a communal home for single gentlewomen (or Protestant nunnery): a project going back to Mary Astell , which King picked up from Sarah Scott 's Millenium Hall.


Astell, Mary. A Fair Way with the Dissenters. Richard Wilkin, 1704.
Astell, Mary. A Serious Proposal to the Ladies. Richard Wilkin, 1694.
Astell, Mary. A Serious Proposal to the Ladies, Part II. Richard Wilkin, 1697.
Astell, Mary. An Impartial Enquiry into the Causes of Rebellion and Civil War in this Kingdom. Richard Wilkin, 1704.
Astell, Mary. Bart’lemy Fair. Richard Wilkin, 1709.
Astell, Mary. “Introduction”. The First English Feminist, edited by Bridget Hill, St Martin’s Press, 1986, pp. 1-62.
Norris, John, and Mary Astell. Letters Concerning the Love of God. S. Manship and Richard Wilkin, 1695.
Astell, Mary. Moderation Truly Stated. Richard Wilkin, 1704.
Astell, Mary. Reflections Upon Marriage. John Nutt, 1700.
Astell, Mary. The Christian Religion. Richard Wilkin, 1705.
Astell, Mary. The First English Feminist. Editor Hill, Bridget, St Martin’s Press, 1986.