“A CLAMOROUS WOMAN IS LOOKT ON… WITH MUCH DREAD”: 17TH CENTURY ENGLISH INSTRUCTIONAL TREATISE FOR WOMEN, IN STRIKING CONTEMPORARY BINDING
(ALLESTREE, Richard and FELL, John). The Ladies Calling in Two Parts. By the Author of the Whole Duty of Man… Oxford: At the Theater, 1677. Octavo, contemporary full brown calf, raised bands, elaborately gilt-decorated spine. $1350.
Early (fifth) edition of this classic instructional book for women, with engraved frontispiece, in beautiful contemporary calf-gilt.
The authors explain that this account is "a necessary Charity to the Sex, to acquaint them with their own Value, animate them to some higher thoughts of themselves; not to yield their Suffrage to those injurious Estimates the World hath made of them." Among the many feminine virtues examined are modesty ("There are women who think they have not made a sufficient escape from their sex, 'till they have assumed the Vices of men too"), meekness ("A clamorous woman is lookt on, tho not with reverence, yet with much dread"), compassion, affability and piety, as well as the role of woman as wife, widow and virgin ("An old Maid is now thought such a curse as no Poetic fury can exceed, look'd on as the most calamitous Creature in nature"). Though the book was anonymously written, it has been theorized for many years that the authors are John Fell, bishop of Oxford and dean of Christ Church, and Richard Allestree, canon of Christ Church, both Royalists who were persecuted during the Commonwealth. With contents leaf at rear. Engraved frontispiece bound in before page 1, signatures P and Q bound out of order; book is complete. Wing A1145. Signed by Henry Hunter with his bookplate (pasted in upside down at rear).
Minor wear to extremities, flyleaves removed, final endpaper worn. Very handsomely bound.