This new title in Ashgate’s series Women and Gender in the Early Modern World builds on earlier studies of the education of young girls, including Elizabeth Howe’s volume in the same series. Beginning from Garrett Mattingly’s assertion that Spain’s Renaissance was unique in Europe due to the greater participation of women, these 13 essays explore “ways in which women expanded their knowledge in both Spain and the New World and how their societies simultaneously commented on and reflected this learning on the stage, in literature, and through the visual arts” (p. 7).

The collection’s organization gives it a tight thematic coherence. Four essays in part 1 explore the relationship of women to reading and writing, particularly among the Spanish nobility. Two writers examine the personal libraries of female members of the powerful Mendoza family, in each case shedding light on how they acquired...

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