Iman Sheeha
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Devotional identity and the mother’s legacy in A Warning for Fair Women (1599)
in People and piety
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This essay examines the modelling out of mothers’ legacies, a genre of conduct books penned and left by mothers for their children, in the anonymous domestic tragedy A Warning for Fair Women (1599). Its research reveals how the play frames the ‘gallows speech’ of a convicted murderess – Mistress Saunders – as exemplifying this genre, and culminates in Saunders leaving a copy of John Bradford’s Meditations (1560) to her children. This act, coupled with her dying words, completes Saunders’ journey of rehabilitation from adulterous and murderous wife to redeemed and devoted mother. This essay emphasises the play’s function as a proselytising tool that sought to reinforce the importance of godly motherhood by depicting those who had transgressed it.

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People and piety

Protestant devotional identities in early modern England


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