The fire didn't start today. This is the list of feminist literature written before the 20th century

The rights and education of women isn't just an issue of today. It has always been there, like an item in the to-do list that's never dealt with fully. These are the books written before the 19th century on feminism.
The Book of the City of Ladies
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The Book of the City of Ladies

by Christine Pizan

About the book:  Christine de Pizan (c.1364-1430) was France's first professional woman of letters. Her pioneering Book of the City of Ladies begins when, feeling frustrated and miserable after reading a male writer's tirade against women, Christine has a dreamlike vision where three virtues - Reason, Rectitude and Justice - appear to correct this view. They instruct her to build an allegorical city in which womankind can be defended against slander, its walls and towers constructed from examples of female achievement both from her own day and the past: ranging from warriors, inventors and scholars to prophetesses, artists and saints. Christine de Pizan's spirited defence of her sex was unique for its direct confrontation of the misogyny of her day, and offers a telling insight into the position of women in medieval culture. THE CITY OF LADIES provides positive images of women, ranging from warriors and inventors, scholars to prophetesses, and artists to saints. The book also offers a fascinating insight into the debates and controversies about the position of women in medieval culture.

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The Treasure of the City of Ladies
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The Treasure of the City of Ladies

by Christine de Pizan

About the book:  Written by Europe’s first professional woman writer, The Treasure of the City of Ladies offers advice and guidance to women of all ages and from all levels of medieval society, from royal courtiers to prostitutes. It paints an intricate picture of daily life in the courts and streets of fifteenth-century France and gives a fascinating glimpse into the practical considerations of running a household, dressing appropriately and maintaining a reputation in all circumstances. Christine de Pizan’s book provides a valuable counterbalance to male accounts of life in the middle ages and demonstrates, often with dry humour, how a woman’s position in society could be made less precarious by following the correct etiquette.

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Declamation on the Nobility and Preeminence of the Female Sex
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Declamation on the Nobility and Preeminence of the Female Sex

by Henricus Cornelius Agrippa

About the book:  Originally published in 1529, the Declamation on the Preeminence and Nobility of the Female Sex argues that women are more than equal to men in all things that really matter, including the public spheres from which they had long been excluded. Rather than directly refuting prevailing wisdom, Agrippa uses women's superiority as a rhetorical device and overturns the misogynistic interpretations of the female body in Greek medicine, in the Bible, in Roman and canon law, in theology and moral philosophy, and in politics. He raised the question of why women were excluded and provided answers based not on sex but on social conditioning, education, and the prejudices of their more powerful oppressors. His declamation, disseminated through the printing press, illustrated the power of that new medium, soon to be used to generate a larger reformation of religion.

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Sir Thomas Elyot's The defence of good women
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Sir Thomas Elyot's The defence of good women

by Edwin Johnston Howard

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SWETNAM THE WOMAN-HATER 1620
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SWETNAM THE WOMAN-HATER 1620

by Anonymous

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A Vindication of the Rights of Woman
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A Vindication of the Rights of Woman

by Mary Wollstonecraft

About the book:  In an era of revolutions demanding greater liberties for mankind, Mary Wollstonecraft (1759-1797) was an ardent feminist who spoke eloquently for countless women of her time.

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Selected Writings of Daniel Defoe
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Selected Writings of Daniel Defoe

by Daniel Defoe

About the book:  A insightful selection of Daniel Defoe's voluminous writings, which have often been neglected in favour of his more famous novels.

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First Feminists
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First Feminists

by Moira Ferguson

About the book:  " "Moira Ferguson has selected wisely from well-known and little-known figures and from fiction, polemic and poetry to illustrate the long and diverse history of feminist reflection up to and including Mary Wollstonecraft.... Good reading for scholars and a fine book for classroom use." -- Natalie Zemon Davis." -- from back cover.

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The Feminist Papers
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The Feminist Papers

by Alice S. Rossi

About the book:  Here are, as Alice Rossi claims in her well-written preface, 'the essential works of feminism, ' published over a period of 200 years. Her introductions to each section are informative and written with nonpolemical grace. -- Doris Grumbach, New Republic

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A Serious Proposal to the Ladies
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A Serious Proposal to the Ladies

by Mary Astell

About the book:  Mary Astell’s A Serious Proposal to the Ladies is one of the most important and neglected works advocating the establishment of women’s academies. Its reception was so controversial that Astell responded with a lengthy sequel, also in this volume. The cause of great notoriety, Astell’s Proposal was imitated by Defoe in his “An Academy for Women,” parodied in the Tatler, satirized on the stage, plagiarized by Bishop Berkeley, and later mocked by Gilbert and Sullivan in Princess Ida.

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