Authority and Female Authorship in Colonial AmericaBy William J. Scheick
Colonial American women relied on the same male authorities and traditions as did colonial men. As a result, they encountered special difficulties validating themselves in writing. In Authority and Female Authorship in Colonial America, William Scheick explores logonomic conflict in the works of northeastern colonial women, whose writings often register anxiety not typical of their male contemporaries. This book features the poetry of Mary English and Anne Bradstreet, the letter-journals of Esther Edwards Burr and Sarah Prince, the autobiographical prose of Elizabeth Hanson and Elizabeth Ashbridge, and the political verse of Phillis Wheatley. These works, along with the writings of other colonial women discussed, provide especially noteworthy instances of bifurcations emanating from American colonial women's conflicted confiscation of male authority. Scheick reveals subtle authorial uneasiness and subtextual tensions caused by the attempt to draw legitimacy from male authorities and traditions.