Anne Dowriche: The French Historie

Edited by Joanne Paul

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Anne Dowriche's The French Historie is one of the very few books published by a woman in sixteenth-century England. Printed in 1589, the text covers three events in the French Wars of Religion, presenting them to the reader as a long epic poem. Although the subject is France, Dowriche's audience was undoubtedly English, and her text provides insight into early Puritanism, Elizabethan politics, Renaissance rhetoric and English Machiavellianism. Long overlooked and frequently dismissed, there has recently been a revival of scholarly interest in Dowriche's text, its context, and its influence.

Dr. Joanne Paul is Honorary Senior Lecturer in Intellectual History at the University of Sussex. Her previous books include Thomas More (Polity, 2016), Counsel and Command in Early Modern English Thought (Cambridge University Press, 2020), and The House of Dudley (Penguin/Pegasus, 2022)

177 pp.
ISBN: 9780772710802
Published: 2024 



  1. Scholarship
  2. Bibliography
  3. Context
  4. Text
  5. History and Politics
  6. Influence
  7. Bibliography
  8. Conventions
  9. The French Histoire
  10. Verses written by a Gentlewoman, upon the Jailor's Conversion
  11. Glossary of Names
  12. Glossary of terms

This is an interesting text, much cited by little read because of the lack of an accessible edition, and it is significant as the first extant work of history to be written by an English female prior to the seventeenth century. The editor is to be commended for bringing it to a wider audience. — Daniel Woolf, Professor of History, Queen's University, Canada

The introduction is an exemplary piece of work. The argument that Dowriche's The French Historie should take up a more prominent place in the development of Puritan thought in the late 1580s is convincing. — Marie H. Loughlin, University of British Columbia, Okanagan