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My virtue is that I say what I think, my vice that what I think doesn't amount to much.

Tuesday, March 09, 2021

A treasure trove of women's intellectual history

Catherine Sutherland with the Mary Astell Collection in the Old Library, Magdalene College, Cambridge

This collection at Magdalene College Cambridge, comprised of 47 books and pamphlets owned and annotated by the philosopher Mary Astell, is a treasure trove of women's intellectual history. 

Inscription in Astell's copy of Arthur Capel, Excellent Contemplations, Divine and Moral, reads: 'Given to M. Astell by her Grace the Duchess Dowager of Beaufort Daughter to this incomparable Lord. Nov 21st 1712'. Image courtesy of the Master and Fellows of Magdalene College Cambridge.

“As a published woman, engaging in polemic, Astell was rare in her time, brave too. Her books reveal a great deal: her reading, her responses, her political and religious commitments, her fluency in French, her grasp of the new philosophy of Descartes, and her engagement with science.” - Mark Goldie, Emeritus Professor of Intellectual History Cambridge

The collection was discovered during a recent provenance survey of Magdalene’s Old Library holdings, amassed by the college since its formation as a Benedictine hostel in 1428.  

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Via MeFi

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