‘THE CURE OF THE KINGDOME’: DEFENDING FEMALE AUTHORSHIP IN ELIZABETH POOLE’S A VISION (1648)
Keywords:Early Modern women's writing, authorship, prophetic writing, seventeeenth-century
A Vision: Wherein is Manifested the Disease and Cure of the Kingdome (1648) is Elizabeth Poole’s account of the prophecies she delivered before Cromwell and the Puritan Army’s General Council as they debated the regicide of Charles I at the end of the first English Civil War in 1648-49. In her “message”, Poole invokes the analogy between king and husband to advise the Army officers not to execute the “head” of their “body”; however, she gives this analogy a radical twist when she adds that the Council should divorce the king instead, since he had violated the terms of his “marriage” by behaving abusively and tyrannically. While the circumstances surrounding Poole’s participation in the Whitehall deliberations are unclear, her appearance represents a rare case of a woman's direct involvement in the midseventeenth-century discussions of the scope and legitimacy of government. This article discusses the reception of Elizabeth Poole’s text by her contemporaries, as seen in her own defence of her right to relaying her divinely inspired opinion in print.
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