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Leah Redmond Chang
Leah Redmond Chang
Critically acclaimed biographer and historian, author of Young Queens: Three Renaissance Women and the Price of Power
History
Nonfiction
Biography
Where else you can find me
Personal website
Substack
Book a 1:1 with Leah Redmond Chang
Hi!

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Talk soon,
Sam

Hello! Thanks for stopping by.

On my mind

Someone recently called me a history nerd, and it’s true. I’ve loved history since childhood, but I also love fiction. To me, history that reads like fiction is just the best – I feel like I’m personally meeting people from the past. These days, I’m fascinated by questions of gender and power, and I’m thinking a lot about how women’s stories get lost to history. I want to uncover those stories and give them the attention they deserve. That is the focus of my next book, which I am working on right now. Other things I’m always thinking about: getting through my to-be-read pile. Balancing a writing life with a parenting one. My dog. What I get to cook next. Feeding my sourdough starter regularly – oh, shoot, gotta go.

Why I'm excited to talk with readers

I love meeting readers. I learn so much from their insights – about history, about books, and about life. Writing and reading are all about connecting with others. So what could be better than an actual conversation with another person about books and writing and ideas?

Looking forward to speaking with you.

Leah

Let's talk! Open to...👇
Freewheeling conversations
Questions about my writing
Questions about your writing
Writing in general
Books in general (what I or readers are reading now)
 Upcoming
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My latest
My Substack
 by 
Leah Redmond Chang
Where I've written

Young Queens

Three Renaissance Women and the Price of Power

Orphaned from infancy, Catherine de’ Medici endured a tumultuous childhood. Married to the French king, she was widowed by forty, only to become the power behind the French throne during a period of intense civil strife. In 1546, Catherine gave birth to a daughter, Elisabeth de Valois, who would become Queen of Spain. Two years later, Catherine welcomed to her nursery the beguiling young Mary Queen of Scots, who would later become her daughter-in-law.

Together, Catherine, Elisabeth, and Mary lived through the sea changes that transformed sixteenth-century Europe, a time of expanding empires, religious discord, and populist revolt, as concepts of nationhood began to emerge and ideas of sovereignty inched closer to absolutism. They would learn that to rule as a queen was to wage a constant war against the deeply entrenched misogyny of their time.

Following the intertwined stories of the three women from girlhood through young adulthood, Leah Redmond Chang's Young Queens paints a picture of a world in which a woman could wield power at the highest level yet remain at the mercy of the state, her body serving as the currency of empire and dynasty, sacrificed to the will of husband, family, kingdom.

“Best Books We’ve Read in 2023”

The New Yorker

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Portraits of the Queen Mother

Polemics, Panegyrics, Letters

Catherine de Médicis was portrayed in her day as foreign usurper, loving queen and queen mother, patron of the arts, and Machiavellian murderer of Protestants. Leah L. Chang and Katherine Kong assemble a diverse array of scathing polemic and lofty praise, diplomatic reports, and Catherine’s own letters, which together show how one extraordinary woman’s rule intersected with early modern conceptions of gender, maternity, and power.

“Leah Chang and Katherine Kong have created a new genre…. The aims and realization of this volume should serve as a model for future work on women of the past.”

— Tracy Adams, author of Christine de Pizan and the Fight for France

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Into Print

The Production of Female Authorship in Early Modern France

This book examines the role that book production played in shaping notions of female authorship in sixteenth- and early seventeenth-century France. Through close analysis of volumes attributed to Helisenne de Crenne, Louise Labé, la Dame des Roches, and Marie de Gournay against the historical backdrop of the early French book market, Chang shows how the female author acts as a figure who often has diverse functions and meanings, in printed books of the period. Focusing on how the female author’s gender, authority, and appeal are crafted in the creation of the material volume, Into Print shows how the production of female-authored volumes influenced early modern concepts of both gender and authorship.

“An elegant and impressive contribution to the history of early modern French publishing culture and women’s literature. I have learned much from this book.”

— Anne R. Larsen, author of Anna Maria van Schurman, The Star of Utrecht.

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