Women Writing History in Early Modern England

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In 1603 an English gentlewoman, Elizabeth Grymeston, composed for her young son a series of meditations - meditations that would offer posthumous advice and reflection on everything from the nature of sin to the limits of royal authority. Six months later Grymeston was dead and her words memorialized not just for a small boy but also for an English audience eager for moral edification and enlightenment. As one of the first writers of the mother's legacy to appear in England, Grymeston looked to history to find her answers. Using life experience as her witness, she drew immediate and powerful connections between yesterday's actions and tomorrow's possibilities. She was not alone - throughout the seventeenth century, scores of Englishwomen did likewise, exploring in their own 'histories' the shifting relationships between past and future. This book focuses on this dynamic exchange, asking us to look seriously at the ends of history.