Sophia Bibliography

Women Not Inferior to Man 1739
Sophia was the name attached to two out of three essays on the relative merits of the sexes, the second, published in 1740 entitled Women’s Superior Excellence Over Man, or a Reply to the Author of a Late Treatise entitled ‘Men Superior to Woman’. This latter essay was a response to the anonymously published essay which appeared in 1739, entitled Man Superior to Woman, or, a Vindication of Man's Natural Right of Sovereign Authority over the Woman. Containing a plain confutation of the fallacious arguments of Sophia. All three appeared together in print in 1751 under the heading Beauty’s Triumph, or the Superiority of the Fair Sex Invincibly Prove and with authorship ascribed to Sophia and ‘a gentleman’.

Sophia’s two essays were adaptations of publications by the French ex-Catholic cleric, François Poulain de la Barre, first translated into English in 1677. Sophia wrote, “surely the Women were created by Heaven for some better end than to labour in vain their whole life long.” The whole exchange took the same shape as the French when a reply to the first appeared, purporting to be by a man. Sophia refers to her attacker in Man Superior to Woman as “one of those amphibious things between both, which I think they call a Wit”.