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Centre for Reformation and Renaissance Studies

Victoria University in the University of Toronto

Book M: A London Widow’s Life Writings, by Katherine Austen

216 pp / Paperback / ISBN 978-0-7727-2150-1 / December 2013 / $27.95

216 pp / Paperback / ISBN 978-0-7727-2150-1 / December 2013 / $27.95

Edited by Pamela S. Hammons

Katherine Austen’s fascinating multi-generic manuscript compilation of texts, Book M, provides a lively and revealing firsthand account of how a clever, self-aware, upwardly mobile woman successfully navigated her way through the perilous patriarchal world of seventeenth-century London. Widowed at a young age, she fiercely protected her children and astutely managed the family resources without the assistance of a husband. While Austen confronted personal challenges particular to her widowhood, she also lived through the dramatic upheavals of England’s Civil Wars, its Commonwealth and Protectorate, the Restoration of the monarchy in 1660, a deadly outbreak of plague in 1665, and the Fire of London in 1666. Book M includes Austen’s spiritual meditations, sermon notes, financial records, letters, personal essays, and more than 30 occasional and religious lyric poems, including elegies and country house verse. This modernized, thoroughly annotated edition provides an easily readable text of a unique manuscript that serves as a rich resource not only for understanding the writer herself, but also for understanding early modern women’s lives and writing more broadly.

To view an excerpt of this work, please click here (PDF).

The Editor:

Pamela S. Hammons is Professor of English and Chair of the English Department at the University of Miami, Coral Gables, FL. She specializes in early modern English literature, manuscript culture, poetry, women’s writing, and theories of gender and sexuality. She is the author of Gender, Sexuality, and Material Objects in English Renaissance Verse (Ashgate 2010), Poetic Resistance: English Women Writers and the Early Modern Lyric (Ashgate 2002), and numerous articles on early modern literature and culture.


Early Modern Women’s Journal, 10:1 (Fall 2015), pp. 233-235. Reviewed by Barbara J. Todd.

Parergon – Journal of the Australian and New Zealand Association for Medieval and Early Modern Studies, 32.2 (2015), pp. 258-259. Reviewed by Lisa Di Crescenzo.


To Order:

The Centre for Reformation and Renaissance Studies no longer sells or distributes books in “The Other Voice in Early Modern Europe: The Toronto Series.” Starting July 2015, volumes can be purchased by individuals and institutions from the Chicago Distribution Center. Contact CDC by email (, by fax (800-621-8476 or 773-702-7212), or by phone (800-621-2736 or 773-702-7000).

216 pp / Paperback / ISBN 978-0-7727-2150-1 / December 2013 / $27.95 (Price includes applicable taxes)


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