The early modern Englishwoman: a facsimile library of essential works. Printed writings, 1500-1640
The biography of Margaret Tyler remains speculative. It is known that she served the Howard family (Thomas Howard, Duke of Norfolk) in some capacity. Her level of education has been described as 'amazing' for a woman who was outside of the aristocracy and possibly a middle-class servant. Her translation (published 1579 or 1580) of Diego Ortún]ez de Calahorra's romance, Espejo de principes y cavalleros, Part I, from the original Spanish, marks not only a notable moment in book history but also the beginning of the popularity and availability of continental romance in England. Tyler was the first woman to publish a romance in England and the first English translator to work from the original Spanish. Because of the negative association of women with romance (considered a masculine domain) and the general cultural restrictions on female authorship, Tyler's bold defence of her translation in the dedication and preface is remarkable, and as it is the earliest Englishwoman's defence of women's literary work, it has sometimes earned her the title of the first English feminist.
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