This study challenges critical assumptions about the role of religion in shaping women's experiences of authorship. Feminist critics have frequently been uncomfortable with the fact that conservative religious beliefs created opportunities for women to write with independent agency. The seventeenth-century Protestant women discussed in this book range across the religio-political and social spectrums and yet all display an affinity with modern feminist theologians. Rather than being victims of a patriarchal gender ideology, Lady Anne Southwell, Anna Trapnel and Lucy Hutchinson, among others, were both active negotiators of gender and active participants in wider theological debates. By placing women's religious writing in a broad theological and socio-political context, Erica Longfellow challenges traditional critical assumptions about the role of gender in shaping religion and politics and the role of women in defining gender and thus influencing religion and politics.

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