The Prayer Closet as a "Room of One's Own": Two Anglican Women Devotional Writers at the Turn of the Eighteenth Century
Abstract

A reading of the devotional works of two Anglican women from opposite ends of the political spectrum supports the surprising contention that gains in early modern women's roles owe something to the rather staid piety of the Restoration Church of England. Both Susanna Hopton (1627-1709) and Elizabeth Burnet (1661-1709) had access to ample fortunes through inheritance and marriage; their spirituality provided them with the ideal of devotional retirement in the privacy of a "prayer closet." Although their writings are unlikely sources of feminist spirituality, there are glimmers of a devotional life that might motivate women to find their voice and move beyond societal and ecclesiastical expectations—as these two did by immersing themselves in "practical divinity," writing, and publishing.


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