Tag Archive for Essayists

Catherine (Kitty) Clive

By Lindsay Smith Catherine “Kitty” Clive (1711- 85) Born Catherine Raftor in London in 1711.[1] Her father, William Raftor, likely came from a wealthy Irish family that lost its fortune due to its support of King James II before the Glorious Revolution of 1688.[2] Although her father received a commission for serving in the French army…

Emilie Du Châtelet

  by Elizabeth Pearce Emilie Du Châtelet (1706-49) The Marquise Du Châtelet was born Gabrielle-Emilie Le Tonnelier de Breteuil in Paris on December 17, 1706.[1] Her father, Louis Nicolas le Tonnelier de Breteuil served King Louis XIV as one of the noblesse de robe, men ennobled because of service to the king, while her mother,…

Mary Hays

by Gina Luria Walker Mary Hays (1759-1843) was a novelist, best known for her belief in radical feminism as an expression of enlightened Dissent, and her provocative history of women. She was born in 1759, into a family of Protestants who rejected the practices of the Church of England.[1] Hays was described as ‘the baldest…

Lucrezia Marinella

by Lindsay Smith Lucrezia Marinella (c.1571-1653) also known as Lucrezia Marinelli Vacca, was born in Venice, Italy[1] to the physician and natural philosopher Giovanni Marinelli.  Nothing is known of Marinella’s mother; she may have died in childbirth. [2] Giovanni Marinelli wrote several books on natural philosophy, rhetoric, and medicine, including female medicine and beauty. His…

Modesto Pozzo

Modesta Pozzo – Venezia, Biblioteca Nazionale Marciana   by Koren Whipp Modesto Pozzo -pseudonym Moderata Fonte (1555-92) a Venetian writer and poet.  When both parents died of the plague in 1556, when she was just a year old, Pozzo and her older brother Leonardo were placed in the care of their maternal grandmother and her…

Elizabeth Lucar

by Eliana Greenberg Elizabeth Lucar (1510-1537) was born in London in 1510.  She was the daughter of Paul Withypoll, who afforded her a liberal education.  She was schooled in needlework, mathematics, music, language (including Latin, Italian, and Spanish) and, most importantly, calligraphy.  She is credited with writing the first English essay on the subject of…

Marie le Jars de Gournay

by Koren Whipp Marie le Jars de Gournay (1565-1645) French writer, editor, literary critic, translator, novelist, poet, and philosopher.  She was born in Paris and raised in Gournay-sur-Aronde.  Her father, Guillaume Le Jars was treasurer to King Henri III of France. In 1568 he obtained feudal rights to the Gournay estate in Picardy, and in…

Mercy Otis Warren

    by Koren Whipp Mercy Otis Warren (1728–1814), poet, essayist, historian, and America’s earliest-known female playwright, produced satirical political commentary which influenced public opinion, rallied opposition to British oppression and celebrated rebel victories.  Mercy Otis was born in Barnstable, Massachusetts on September 14, 1728, eldest daughter of Mary Allyne Otis and James Otis Sr.,…

Jane Loudon

Jane Loudon

by Koren Whipp Jane C. Loudon 1807-58 was a British writer best known for creating the first popular gardening manuals, providing an alternative to the specialist horticultural books of the day. Loudon was born into a wealthy family.  Following her mother’s death in 1819, she and her father, Thomas Webb, a Birmingham manufacturer, traveled the continent where…

Mary Astell

By Penelope Whitworth Mary Astell (1666–1731), philosopher, rhetorician, and advocate for women’s education.   She was born in Newcastle upon Tyne, England, to Peter Astell , a coal merchant, and his wife, Mary, daughter of George Errington, also a coal merchant in Newcastle.[1] Her paternal uncle, Ralph Astell, curate of St Nicholas’s, Newcastle upon Tyne, was…

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