The Swetnam Controversy

(2968 words)
  • Deirdre Boleyn (Independent Scholar - Europe)

Literary/ Cultural Context Essay

The Swetnam Controversy is a name given to four related pamphlets and a play written in the second decade of James I and VI’s reign which attack and defend women. The Controversy is named after Joseph Swetnam, whose 1615 attack on women The Araignment of Women was replied to by three defences of women published in 1617, the first was Rachel Speght’s A Movzell for Melastomvs, followed by two pseudonymous pamphlets, Ester Sowernam’s Ester Hath Hang’d Haman, and Constantia Munda’s The Worming of a mad Dogge. Swetnam, the Woman-hater, a play whose themes drew in part on questions raised in the four pamphlets, and in which Joseph Swetnam appears as “Misogynos”, cemented his status as …

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Boleyn, Deirdre. "The Swetnam Controversy". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 09 February 2006
[, accessed 29 September 2016.]