Caritas Pirckheimer: A Journal of the Reformation Years, 1524-1528
Considered by Erasmus to be one of the most learned women in Germany, Caritas Pirckheimer was also termed the German Sappho by Celtis, the Poet Laureate of Germany. Caritas had been tutored in Latin, became acquainted with Albrecht Dürer, and read the newly-discovered works of Hrotswitha von Gandersheim. She is best known for her Journal of the Reformation, which she compiled while abbess of the convent of St. Clare's as an historical record of her conflict with the Nürnberg City Council. Consisting of commentaries and letters written by her and to her in 69 chapters, the Journal also represents a defence of her convent and of her Roman Catholic faith during the advent of Lutheranism, when the City Council attempted to pressure her convent into accepting religious reforms and her nuns to renounce their vows and leave the convent. It records a unique moment in western European religious history and in her own life. Most importantly, in the history of early modern literature by women, it stands as a defence of equal rights and the individual's right to choose.
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