Women’s War Drama in England in the Seventeenth Century

by Brenda Liddy


This book examines representations of women and war in female-authored drama composed in seventeenth-century England, between the years 1645 and 1689. It examines how women’s writing was influenced by the war and how at the same time women were creating a discourse of war. It examines the legacy of the bloody events of the Civil War and their representation in early modern women’s drama.

The study focuses on three key areas: representations of women’s communities, representations of female warriors, and representations of women as peacemakers. The plays are thus considered thematically, rather than chronologically.

The book is organized around focal points starting with the representations of women’s community in early modern drama in chapters two and three, moving on to representations of female warriors in chapters four and five, and finally considering representations of peacemakers in chapters six and seven.

The present research shows that the work of these extraordinary women was created by the Civil War culture and that because of their interaction with the war, they were also shaping a literary discourse of war. Attention to these women’s texts reveals their “social embedment” in early modern history and discloses “the historicity of texts and the textuality of history.”

This book sets a precedent by establishing a model for women’s war drama; this has never been done before in previous studies, and thus this book makes an innovative and significant contribution to the field. Extremely well researched, this book provides the reader with an understanding of theoretical perspectives, relevant criticism, and women’s dramatic writing of the seventeenth century.


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