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Women, Writing, and Language in Early Modern Ireland$
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Marie-Louise Coolahan

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780199567652

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199567652.001.0001

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(p.219) 6 Autobiography
Women, Writing, and Language in Early Modern Ireland

Marie‐Louise Coolahan (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

This final chapter is concerned with biography and autobiography. The texts discussed — by Lucy Cary, Frances Cook, Mary Rich, Alice Thornton, Ann Fanshawe, and the women of John Rogers's Dublin congregation — express a range of religious and political perspectives. They demonstrate the diversity of New English attitudes, and offer divergent views from those of male colonial administrators. Their adoption of a conversion paradigm for their life‐writing unites these texts. Irish experience is fitted to the teleology of conversion as a signifier of catholicism. The discussion argues that these texts are also political. Deeply concerned with worldly reputation, the chapter shows how the projection of female exemplarity often functions to camouflage the more worldly claims these writers made.

Keywords:   autobiography, biography, conversion, reputation, Lucy Cary, Frances Cook, Mary Rich, Alice Thornton, Ann Fanshawe, John Rogers

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