Cover image for The monstrous regiment of women : female rulers in early modern Europe
The monstrous regiment of women : female rulers in early modern Europe
Jansen, Sharon L., 1951-
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Palgrave/Macmillan, [2002]

Physical Description:
311 pages ; 22 cm
Introduction : redrawing the lines of power -- ch. 1. Fifteenth-century foremothers -- ch. 2. The daughters of Isabella of Castile Queens and regents in Spain and the Habsburg Empire -- ch. 3. The daughters of Margaret Beaufort : Queens and regents in England and Scotland -- ch. 4. The daughters of Caterina Sforza : rulers and regents in Italy -- 5. The daughters of Anne of France: Queens and regents in France and French Navarre -- ch. 6. The end of an era.
Electronic Access:
Table of contents
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Call Number
Material Type
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Item Holds
D226.7 .J36 2002 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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In The Monstrous Regiment of Women , Sharon Jansen explores the case for and against female rule by examining the arguments made by theorists from Sir John Fortescue (1461) through Bishop Bossuet (1680) interweaving their arguments with references to the most well-known early modern queens. The 'story' of early modern European political history looks very different if, instead of focusing on kings and their sons, we see successive generations of powerful women and the shifting political alliances of the period from a very different, and revealing, perspective.

Author Notes

SHARON L. JANSEN is Professor of English at Pacific Lutheran University, USA.

Reviews 1

Choice Review

This delightful book does not break much new ground, but in getting readers to "redraw the lines of power," literally, it helps reconceptualize the way we view women as rulers in early modern Europe. Jansen (English, Pacific Lutheran Univ.) is well read and has a flair for showing how women rulers were not exceptional in this period, but through their more direct reproductive role in perpetuating ruling families wielded much control over dynastic succession and power. The book's title, taken from John Knox's strident polemic against women rulers, implies that there will be the usual philosophical discussions by male writers justifying patriarchy as most godly. Jansen, however, eschews that rather tired approach and instead focuses on the day-to-day activities of Isabella of Castile, Margaret Beaufort, Caterina Sforza, and Anne of France and their female descendants. These are the women who proved to be catalysts for some of the most epoch-making events of their time, from the European discovery of the New World and the flowering of high Renaissance culture, to the success of Protestantism and the establishment of the modern bureaucratic state. Based largely on secondary sources, this counternarrative unveils a shrouded history that is enjoyable, thoughtful, and definitely worth the read. Summing Up: Highly recommended. All levels and libraries. B. Lowe Florida Atlantic University

Table of Contents

Isabella of Castille
Lady Margaret Beaufort
Caterina Sforza
Anne of France
Mary Tudor]
Elizabeth Tudor
Mary Stuart