London, South Kensington
16 November 2004
[ASTELL, Mary (1668-1731)]. A Serious Proposal to the Ladies, for the Advancement of their True and Greatest Interest, London: for R. Wilkin, 1694, 12° (135 x 75mm). With the initial licence leaf and the 2 final advertisement leaves. Contemporary panelled calf (lacks front cover).
FIRST EDITION of Mary Astell's proposal for the building of a large spiritual and mental retreat for women, which encountered much unfounded suspicion of crypto-catholicism. Princess (later Queen) Anne was prepared to give 10,000 towards the building of it, but was talked out of it by Bishop Burnet. Astell also joined in several religious controversies, writing against Locke's Reasonableness of Christianity, against Tillotson's famous sermon on the eternity of the torments of hell and a sermon of White Kennett, and on each occasion proving herself an acute controversialist. Wing A4062.
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