A ‘Paraditian Creature’
Eve and her unsuspecting garden in seventeenth-century literature
in Biblical women in early modern literary culture 1550–1700
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In the early seventeenth century in England a flurry of texts emerged formally debating the moral and ethical value of womankind. Eve, the first human to fall, was regularly used to define and malign woman, and her eating of the forbidden fruit was, for some, biblical evidence of womankind's inherent fallibility. Writers such as the horticulturalist mystics Abraham Cowley and John Evelyn increasingly reveal an Eve who is conflated both with Adam and with the garden itself. Ester Sowernam notes in Ester hath hang'd Haman: Or An Answer to a The Arraignment of Women that Eve is a Paraditian Creature. As the seventeenth century progresses, the readings shift ground, as Eve begins to become a prop in her Edenic garden for the Georgian fantasists and mystical horticulturalists of the 1650s.

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