Making Examples of Women: Juan Luis Vives' The Education of Christian Women


early modern gender
Renaissance women

How to Cite

Kolsky, S. “Making Examples of Women: Juan Luis Vives’ The Education of Christian Women”. Early Modern Culture Online, Vol. 3, Feb. 2018, pp. 14-38, doi:10.15845/emco.v3i0.1283.


Juan Luis Vives (1492-1540) composed “The Education of a Christian Woman” in order to cement his patronage relations with the Queen of England, Catherine of Aragon and to lay the foundations of his own social thought. Scholars have been divided about the extent to which the work may be regarded as conservative, this article points to those areas of textual tension that give rise to contradictory evaluations of “The Education”. The essay analyses the use of pagan, Christian and contemporary exempla in order to demonstrate that Vives formulates a bourgeois notion of marriage which he wishes to impose on aristocratic women. His attacks on court life, the emphasis on frugality and the diatribes against conspicuous consumption lend support to a view of a women remaining invisible in the home. A queen is the test case for such an assessment and Vives attempts to diminish her autonomy as far as possible.

Copyright (c) 2012 Stephen Derek Kolsky

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