Reconsidering Early Modern Women’s Reading, or How Margaret Hoby Read Her De Mornay

Crawford, Julie A.

This article re-examines the life and reading of Lady Margaret Hoby, a Yorkshire gentlewoman best known for her diary, which often records her practice of reading devotional texts. Reading the diary alongside Hoby’s annotations of Philippe de Mornay’s controversial text on the Eucharist, Julie Crawford argues that Hoby’s practices of reading, writing, and talking about religion were more than simply inward-looking acts of self-examination, but functioned as a way of asserting her influence and furthering reform in a notoriously recusant region, and of fostering a network of like-minded activists both in the country and in London. The case of Hoby challenges our view of women’s diaristic writing, and pietistic reading, as private and internal, showing how in this case these practices functioned as social and political activism.


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Huntington Library Quarterly

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Academic Units
English and Comparative Literature
Published Here
April 13, 2015