Written in the early or middle years of the fourteenth century, How the Good Wife Taught Her Daughter is one of the few conduct poems written in Middle English to be directed specifically at women, and one of the earliest in Europe to be directed at women below the highest ranks of the aristocracy and outside the nunneries. It shares its genre with the preceding text, How the Wise Man Taught His Son, mixing proverbial advice, moral guidance, and lessons in courteous behavior. Other, very similar, conduct literature written for women includes The Good Wife Wold a Pilgrimage, and the Scots poem The Thewis of Gud Women (The Customs of Good Women), both included in the critical edition by Mustanoja listed below. Once again the fictional device of a parent speaking to a child frames the poem, though it cannot be called a dialogue in any meaningful sense.


The Middle English text