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Wheathill, Anne

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Almost nothing is known about the life of Anne Wheathill. Her only known work, a pocket-sized prayer book called A handfull of holesome (though homelie) hearbs, was printed in 1584. Wheathill’s prayers reveal few concrete details about her lived experience, which is perhaps why she has not received the same critical attention as some of her contemporaries. In the absence of biographical information, it can be difficult to place Wheathill in a continuum of early modern women writers, particularly because she does not write about the issues we imagine to be most significant to women, such as marriage, childbirth, or motherhood. Yet even if A handfull of holesome (though homelie) hearbs tells us little about the life of Wheathill, it demonstrates the possibilities for early modern women’s participation in religious and political discourse through devotional reading and writing. Gathering and framing fragments of scripture and adopting the generic voice employed in the public liturgy, Wheathill assembled the tools of a religious and rhetorical education. In so doing, Wheathill promotes her private vision of worship and offers a model that like-minded readers could imitate using the devotional materials at their disposal.

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Correspondence to Amie Shirkie .

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Shirkie, A. (2023). Wheathill, Anne. In: The Palgrave Encyclopedia of Early Modern Women's Writing. Palgrave Macmillan, Cham.

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  • Print ISBN: 978-3-030-01537-4

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Chapter history

  1. Latest

    Wheathill, Anne
    06 June 2023


  2. Original

    Wheathill, Anne
    04 January 2022