Compiled by Betty S. Travitsky, A Bibliography of English Women Writers 1500-1640 has evolved from an effort to compile a "comprehensive" record of often quaint past scholarship on some 180 known women writers into an open-ended work of scholarship currently listing 738 recovered writers and their texts, canonical and non-canonical. Including already familiar figures as well as less-known and hitherto unknown English women writers--refugees such as women recusants, women in the colonies, Marrano women (Anusot), women translators and English women writers in French, Greek, Latin, Spanish, Gaelic and Welsh--the bibliography functions not only as a listing of mushrooming scholarship, but also as a roster of English women writers, 1500-1640. While "comprehensiveness" remains the ideal goal of the bibliography, in the case of some particularly famous women, like Elizabeth Tudor and Mary Stuart, listings are limited to materials connected to these women's writings, rather than their lives.
Preliminaries consist of bibliographies and catalogues, contextual studies (i.e., studies providing extended narrative or analysis), reference works (i.e., compendia of entries), anthologies of essays, special issues of journals, genre studies, handbooks and pedagogical tools, compilations containing primary sources, and dissertations. Individual listings, the bulk of the bibliography, begin with a main heading supplying the writer's name and dates and contain lists of texts (along with English Short Title Catalogue numbers or locations of manuscripts), of editions, of compilations containing texts, and of both historical and analytical scholarship. Within these individual listings, added entries identify variants of names and of titles and notes provide further information essential to identifying the writers and texts.
September 13, 2010