Rachel Speght (1597 – death date unknown) was a poet and polemicist. She was the first Englishwoman to identify herself, by name, as a polemicist and critic of gender ideology. Speght, a feminist and a Calvinist, is perhaps best known for her tract A Mouzell for Melastomus (London, 1617). It is a prose refutation of Joseph Swetnam's misogynistic tract, The Arraignment of Lewd, Idle, Froward, and Unconstant Women, and a significant contribution to the Protestant discourse of biblical exegesis, defending women's nature and the worth of womankind. Speght also published a volume of poetry, Mortalities Memorandum with a Dreame Prefixed (London, 1621), a Christian reflection on death and a defence of the education of women.
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