Mary Astell: The first English feminist
Join Dr Jane Hughes, President and Pepys Librarian; Professor James Raven FBA, Senior Research Fellow in History; Catherine Sutherland, Deputy Librarian; and Dr Teresa Bejan, Associate Professor of Political Theory at the University of Oxford; as they discuss Magdalene Library's recent discovery of 47 books and pamphlets owned and annotated by the philosopher Mary Astell (1666–1731).
Mary Astell is viewed by many as “the first English feminist”, and the discovery of her book collection has uncovered a treasure trove of women’s intellectual history. Most scholarly interest in Astell has focused on her philosophical thought and proto-feminism, but relatively little has been written about her book ownership because only a few survivors from her library were known about. Her hand-written notes reveal that Astell engaged with complex natural philosophy including the ideas of René Descartes. You can read more about the astounding discovery of Astell's collection here.
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