The power of the Renaissance woman

Lady Anne Clifford, a favorite in Queen Elizabeth I's court, was no shrinking violet, and was, in fact, one of the earliest feminists. Her 600,000-word manuscript, Great Books of Record, is set to be released in a new, complete edition.

The newly-transcribed work by Dr Jessica Malay, a Reader in English Literature at the University of Huddersfield, documents Clifford's struggle to inherit castles and villages across northern England. Malay said: "Lady Anne's Great Books of Record challenge the notion that women in the 16th and 17th centuries lacked any power or control over their own lives. There is this misplaced idea that the feminist movement is predominantly a 1960s invention but debates and campaigns over women's rights and equality stretch back to the Middle Ages."