“. . . Madden probes the ways in which both reading and writing among the Shakers enriched the lives of the Believers. Her focus on the variety of literacies within the community adds immensely to our understanding of the Shaker traditions of spirituality. Her recognition of the multiplicity of ‘texts’ among the Believers as well as the creative tensions between public and private, oral and written, male and female, physical and spiritual, enhances our knowledge and provides insight into critical pieces of Shaker literature.  . . . [T]he role of the body in all this discourse ties her work to major currents of contemporary scholarship. This is a sophisticated contribution to current Shaker scholarship.”

Stephen J. Stein Chancellors’ Professor and Chair Department of Religious Studies Indiana University, Bloomington