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Journal > Volumes > 39 (2008) / 4 (Winter)
Thomas More and Margaret More Roper: A Case for Rethinking Women’s Participation in the Early Modern Public Sphere
Jaime Goodrich
Wayne State University

Margaret More Roper, daughter of Sir Thomas More, was well known in her own day for her facility with Latin and Greek. Although most of her writings are no longer extant, two compositions still exist: a translation of Erasmus’s Precatio dominica of 1524 and the Alington letter of 1534. Critics generally read these works as evidence of Roper’s submission to More’s patriarchal control, primarily because neither text demonstrates a literary voice distinct from the agendas of her father. This article argues that Margaret Roper gained covert political power from her ability to symbol-ize the private life of her father. Because More and his allies cast Margaret Roper as an avatar of More’s personal commitment to humanist learning, Roper’s writings could first defend More’s friendship with Erasmus and later support his opposition to Henry’s arrogation of papal power. 

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