Mary Astell


Mary Astell, an enlightened and influential promotor of women's education, consigned nearly all her formal writings to print. The one exception is the carefully prepared Collection of Poems which she presented to Archbishop Sancroft in 1689 (AsM 1-18), and which includes poems of earlier composition, some bearing dates in 1683, 1684, and 1687/8. The existence of autograph letters by her (in the Bodleian, in the library of the Duke of Beaufort at Badminton, and elsewhere, not given separate entries below) serves, by way of comparison, to confirm the likelihood that the semi-calligraphic script in this manuscript is hers.

Peter Beal