Faculty Book: Susan Gushee O'Malley
Susan Gushee O'Malley
"Custome Is an Idiot": Jacobean Pamphlet Literature on Women
(University of Illinois Press, 2004; 320 pp.)
During the early seventeenth century a fierce debate raged in British intellectual society regarding the role of women—how much is ordained by God, and how much is merely custom. The pamphlets that circulated at the time reveal a great deal about the terms of the debate. Custome Is an Idiot contains the complete and annotated texts of six pamphlets written between 1609 and 1620, opening a lively window on early modern British cultural history, specifically on competing opinions about the role of women in society. Included here are two pamphlets about gossips by Samuel Rowlands, William Heale's treatise against wife-beating, Christopher Newstead's argument for the superiority of women, and Hic Mulier and Haec Vir, two pamphlets that address the theme of cross-dressing. Susan Gushee O'Malley is a professor of English at Kingsborough Community College, CUNY, and a professor of liberal studies at the CUNY Graduate Center.
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Submitted on: MAY 14, 2004