chapter  1
16 Pages

The Seventeenth-Century Scene

What used to be known by the unliberated as 'the woman question' is as old as Eve. There are plenty of descriptive, biographical and narrative studies on the state of play in seventeenth century England and America. 1 The drama and poetry, sermons and family histories, legal records and diaries have been ransacked by generations of scholars. We shall not reiterate the excellent work that has already been done. Here our focus will be on the less well-worked areas of transatlantic comparison and the analysis of the causes and effects of differences in women's status and roles.