Heywood, Thomas (d. 1641) Gynaikeion: or, Nine Bookes of Various History Concerninge Women.
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Heywood, Thomas (d. 1641) Gynaikeion: or, Nine Bookes of Various History Concerninge Women. London: Printed by Adam Islip, 1624. First edition, small folio, engraved title; later half calf and marbled boards, 10 3/4 x 7 in.
Playwright and Shakespeare contemporary, Heywood's work is a study of women real and mythic and gives interesting insight into western culture's perception about females and femininity. During Heywood's lifetime two very different queens ruled England while several others were imprisoned and executed. Each of the nine books is named after a muse, and takes her attributes as its inspiration to extrapolate. The fourth book, Melpomene, describes "Women incestuous, adulteresses, and such as have come by strange deaths"; Terpsichore, the fifth book, is about "Amazons, and other women famous either for valour or beautie"; Urania, the eighth book, is concerned with poetesses and witches; and the final chapter, Calliope, shows the punishments given to the "vitious" and the rewards reaped by the virtuous.
A2-6, B-Z6, Aa-Rr6 (first and last leaf are blank & lacking in this copy).
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