The works by the four protestant women authors collected in this volume participate in the ars moriandi (art of dying) tradition which became increasingly powerful over the 16th and 17th centuries.
The moment of death was thought to reveal the 'true' state of the individual's soul.
This volume provides four varying forms of heroic subjectivity offered by middle class and aristocratic women by the act of dying well.
In all four cases their heroic deaths also proclaimed and thus helped to define specifically Protestant doctrines.
When so few women's words appeared in print, this ideological function probably represented a primary reason for the recording and publishing of these works.