From the beginning of the seventeenth century, English society started to become preoccupied with education and how people acquired it.
It is all the more surprising, then, that there should be relatively few early modern texts by Englishwomen devoted to the question of how one should learn. The four texts printed here are principally concerned with language and arithemetic.
One of the reasons for the paucity of such writings is that many commentators viewed women's ability to write as a threat to social stability.
The education of women was at best ad hoc. A few attended dame schools, and the wealthy could afford private tutors.
Among her own family and friends, however, the individual learned girl was often celebrated, and instances of formal praise act as forewords to some of the texts printed in this volume.