Capitalizing on Change: The Influence of Queen Elizabeth I's Marriage Politics on the Lives and Works of Anne Bradstreet and Aphra Behn

Date of Award

Spring 2015

Author Requested Restriction

Open Access (no embargo, no restriction)

Work Type

Masters Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts in Interdisciplinary Studies (MAIS)


Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences

First Advisor

Joseph Sharkey

Second Advisor

Michael Allen

Third Advisor

Joanne Clark-Dillman


The history of women authors has been long understudied. It is only recently that feminists, historians, and literary critics have contributed to the conversation on women writers. My research adds to this conversation by focusing on historical events that altered English culture, and how these events allowed for the entrance of women into the literary profession and influenced these authors' lives and works. This is done by examining the lives and works of Aphra Behn and Anne Bradstreet, the first acknowledged professional women authors in America and England, respectively. My thesis examines primary sources, biographies, and scholarly analysis of these women's lives and works to explore the connections between the literature of Bradstreet and Behn, and the reign of Queen Elizabeth I. This comprehensive understanding of these women will show how the literature they created was not accomplished in isolation, but was the result of historical influences.