Lynch and Scott 2008
Riley, Kate. "Playing with Worldly Things: The Dialogues of the Little Academy at Little Gidding." In Renaissance Poetry and Drama in Context: Essays for Christopher Wortham, eds. Andrew Lynch and Anne Scott (Cambridge: CAmbridge Scholars Publishing, 2008), pp. 197-214.
"Desplite historians' long-held assumption that the dialogues are Nicholas Ferrar's work, it makes sense that the Collet sisters wrote the dialogues themselves." (197)
historians have assumed NF wrote them, and the women "had no part in their composition"; "however there is no evidence in the Ferrar papers or the dialogue texts to suggest that Nicholas did anything other than supervise the storying from time to time" (198)
Little Academy, operated 1631-1634; timeline of activities on pg 200
"The Little Academy is an unusual phenomenon; it is not typical to find oratorical activities in the schooling or leisure pursuits of young women outside of aristocratic or court circles in the early Stuart period, for hte obvious reasons tha twomen's public speech and their possession and demonstration of knowledge were not ideologically condoned." (200)
way of "dealing with the problem, in contemporary terms, of having a large number of daughers in the household, most of them awaiting marriage but too old for the schoolroom" (201)
"The research and composition processa dn the careful work of ocpying and binding the transcripts likewise constitued disciplined, devout uses of time, culminating in a tangible product. It was gender-specific training. The Academy was part of a broader project to prepare the Collet sisters for life as married gentlewomen, but moreover as godly wives." (201)
women of LG being prepared to be cleric/priests' wives?
LA "characterized as a feminine institution from the outset" (203) -- inaugural session held during Feast of the Purification, 2 Feb 1631
men were the exemplars in the conversations -- not women
record of appointing Mary as "mother" -- the Affectionate points out "the choise, not of a Lord, but of a Lady; for so you have resolved, and so the constitution of our Family requires, it being the woman sex that exceeds both in Number and faultines amongst us" (206)
drama is contentious to Puritans; yet dialogue connected to catechism, playing to nuns and boys schools
connection to Ladies Hall in Deptford, performing Robert White's masque Cupid's Banishment in front of Anne of Denmark, sponsored by Lucy Russell
Lady Falkland's idea for a "women's retreat," influenced by Great Tew
Mary Astell, Serious Proposal for a "Monastery for women's devotion and study"
inclusion of songs or hymns in the sessions/performances
"The dialogues were a process of learning to know the enemy. In a paradoxical turn, the company of sisters staged the world, letting it into the confines of the godly household by relating and re-enacting episodes from history. Through interpreting the stories and assimilating the lessons drawn from them, they persuaded themselves and their audience to renoucned the world, to shut it out again: at least its corrupting aspects, and at least in principle." (213)
"The storying was a very effective means of reinforcing in the young women the precepts of their Protestant culture, in accordance with their gender and social rank, which were doubtless familiar from childhood and now nuanced consistent with the prioritisation of piety at LG. It was fundamentally conservative." (213)