Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Name

Master of Arts (M.A.)

Degree Granting Department


Major Professor

Giovanna Benadusi, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Jennifer Knight, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Brian Connolly, Ph.D.


authorial choices, gender, women's writing


This thesis explores how women authors responded to masculine discourses of dominance in late sixteenth-century England. Directly, it concentrates on the pamphlet Jane Anger her Protection for Women, written in 1589 and published under the pseudonym Jane Anger. I argue Anger’s pamphlet was a radical voice within Elizabethan print culture which lends a view into gender politics of the time in which this piece was produced. I also argue that though Anger’s target audience was the gentlewomen of England, she crafted her pamphlet for a broad audience that included any literate man or woman across social station. The importance and radical nature of this pamphlet is found in the author’s use of a female voice to speak out against what she perceived to be an unjust social hierarchy between men and women. She located anti-woman discourses within the male-dominant genre of rhetoric and then critiqued the discourses she found issue with. Anger questioned the validity of male dominance, responded with evidence of what she saw as women’s superior features, and then generated her own evidence to support her claims. Further, Anger issued a call to action for the gentlewomen of Elizabethan England to pen their own responses to these anti-woman discourses.