Invisible Agents: Women and Espionage in Seventeenth-Century Britain (Paperback)

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It would be easy for the modern reader to conclude that women had no place in the world of early modern espionage, with a few seventeenth-century women spies identified and then relegated to the footnotes of history. If even the espionage carried out by Susan Hyde, sister of Edward Hyde, Earl
of Clarendon, during the turbulent decades of civil strife in Britain can escape the historiographer's gaze, then how many more like her lurk in the archives?

Nadine Akkerman's search for an answer to this question has led to the writing of Invisible Agents, the very first study to analyse the role of early modern women spies, demonstrating that the allegedly-male world of the spy was more than merely infiltrated by women. This compelling and
ground-breaking contribution to the history of espionage details a series of case studies in which women - from playwright to postmistress, from lady-in-waiting to laundry woman - acted as spies, sourcing and passing on confidential information on account of political and religious convictions or to
obtain money or power.

The struggle of these women to construct credibility in their own time is mirrored in their invisibility in modern historiography. Akkerman has immersed herself in archives, libraries, and private collections, transcribing hundreds of letters, breaking cipher codes and their keys, studying invisible
inks, and interpreting riddles, acting as a modern-day spymistress to unearth plots and conspiracies that have long remained hidden by history.

About the Author

Nadine Akkerman, Reader in early modern English Literature, Leiden University Nadine Akkerman is Reader in early modern English Literature at Leiden University and Visiting Fellow at All Souls College, Oxford. She is editor of The Correspondence of Elizabeth Stuart, Queen of Bohemia (OUP), the third and final volume of which will be published in 2021, and is currently writingthe definitive biography of Elizabeth Stuart. She has also published extensively on women's history, diplomacy, and masques, and curated several exhibitions, including the popular Courtly Rivals at the Haags Historisch Museum. In 2017 she was elected to The Young Academy of the Royal NetherlandsAcademy of Arts and Sciences, and received a Special Recognition Award from the World Cultural Council. In January 2019, she was awarded the prestigious Ammodo Science Award for top researchers in the Netherlands.

Product Details
ISBN: 9780198849421
ISBN-10: 0198849427
Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
Publication Date: March 12th, 2020
Pages: 288
Language: English