Renaissance Englishwomen as Writers, Readers, and Patrons Chapter uri icon


  • Until the end of the twentieth century, most scholars believed, following Virginia Woolf’s fiction about the unhappy fate of Shakespeare’s talented sister, that few Renaissance women participated in the period’s literary culture, and that only the elite women were literate. Recent revisions of literacy studies have revealed many more women readers and writers; changing definitions of ‘literature’ have revealed many more from a range of classes, often creating social communities of women readers and writers. During this period, women were influential writers, publishing ‘bestsellers’ and introducing new genres to English readers, as well as circulating and preserving their works in manuscript form and supporting major male literary figures of the period as patrons.

author list (cited authors)

  • Margaret J. M. Ezell

citation count

  • 0

editor list (cited editors)

  • Berensmeyer, I.

Book Title

  • Handbook of English Renaissance Literature

publication date

  • January 1, 2019 11:11 AM