More Early Modern Women Adventurers (… and others)

You read my post about Mary Ambree and Dianne Dugaw’s scholarship on women warriors in popular 16th-18th century English culture, and now you want more, you say?

You’re in luck: the excellent Stuff you Missed in History Class podcast (which I listen to a lot these days, while driving) has made a few pertinent episodes recently.

Here they are:

Catalina de Erauso, “the Lieutenant Nun.” Not English, in this case—she was what ended up being called Basque—but a fascinating figure all the same, she was a runaway from a convent (and not actually a nun) as well as a cross-dressing adventuress with a strong penchant for getting into fights, cuddling with her employers’ wives/girlfriends, and landing in jail. She fled Europe and ended up all over South America, picking fights and fleeing from the law. A fascinating figure. If you’ve listened and want a (free, but old) translation of her account, you can get it at

Aphra Behn. Royalist ideologue, traveler, literary figure, and even possibly a spy: Aphra Behn’s a fascinating figure I’ve mentioned before here. Worth a listen.

Ann Bonny and Mary Read. Female pirates operating in the Caribbean in the 18th century. This one I have queued up, so I can’t say more, but it promises to be interesting.

Oh, and while they’re not adventurers in the sense we mean when we say “adventurers” the Ladies of Llangollen were an interesting pair of women (seemingly romantically involved, though nothing’s 100% certain except they fled unwanted marriages together) who were famous and celebrated all over the British Isles (and even as far away as Germany—to the point of their Welsh Gothic house becoming a popular tourist destination while they were still living in it—all the way back in the late 18th century. Some people were, of course, scandalized, but others were amazed and praised the pair.

(And for those who’re interested in Early Georgian Londoners of both sexes, the recent William Hogarth episode‘s not too shabby, too!)

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