This article suggests that Margaret More Roper's 1534 letter to Alice Alington is an important witness to Tudor ideas of patriarchy and the history of gender identity. In 1557 William Ras tell was the first of many to question not only Margaret's authorship of the letter, but also her acquiescence to authorities and opposition to her father. Evidence suggests, however, that Margaret was a part of Erasmus's humanist network of friendship, remained so after More's refusal to swear the oath and his imprisonment, and that her appeals to her father were genuine. By the time Margaret and More debated conformity, she was inside the humanist network but he had apparently stepped out. With Margaret's opposition to her father, we may have found an example of what some renaissance humanists dimly perceived or feared, an indication that inadvertently they had begun a pattern for feminists to follow.

Document Type


Publication Date

Fall 1989

Publisher Statement

Copyright © 1989 Sixteenth Century Journal. This article first appeared in Sixteenth Century Journal 20, no. 3 (Autumn 1989): 443-56. doi:10.2307/2540789.

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