Republic of Women: Rethinking the Republic of Letters in the Seventeenth Century
Publication Date 11 Feb 2018
OverviewRepublic of Women recaptures a lost chapter in the narrative of intellectual history. It tells the story of a transnational network of female scholars who were active members of the seventeenth-century republic of letters and demonstrates that this intellectual commonwealth was a much more eclectic and diverse assemblage than has been assumed. These seven scholars - Anna Maria van Schurman, Princess Elisabeth of Bohemia, Marie de Gournay, Marie du Moulin, Dorothy Moore, Bathsua Makin and Katherine Jones, Lady Ranelagh - were philosophers, schoolteachers, reformers and mathematicians. They hailed from England, Ireland, Germany, France and the Netherlands, and together with their male colleagues - men like Descartes, Huygens, Hartlib and Montaigne - they represented the spectrum of contemporary approaches to science, faith, politics and the advancement of learning. Carol Pal uses their collective biography to reconfigure the intellectual biography of early modern Europe, offering a new, expanded analysis of the seventeenth-century community of ideas.