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Readership: Scholars and undergraduate students of Early Modern English History, Women's Studies, Early Modern English Literature and the general reader.
Sara Mendelson, Associate Professor, Arts and Science Program, McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, and Patricia Crawford, Professor, History Department, University of Western Australia
"... a rich, full and stimulating analysis of many aspects of women's lives during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries ... very clearly structured throughout ... Mendelson and Crawford's book is wide-ranging and sophisticated, and should be widely read. It will serve both as an invaluable teaching companion and, with its immensely detailed bibliography (which is especially good as a guide to manuscripts and unpublished doctoral work), as a useful tool for further research for many years to come." - Journal of Early Modern History
"... an important new feminist study of women in early modern England by two of the leading social historians in their field ... offers both a valuable synthesis and a fresh insight into areas
until recently little studied. Particularly useful are the sections on single women and the chapter on female culture, which includes fascinating discussion of speech and material culture. The book also provides an important theoretical framework for women's history, one that is genuinely innovative conceptually and methodologically." - Journal of Early Modern History
"This is an important book which is sure to become influential in our understanding of women's history ... it contains much that is subtle, interesting, and innovative; it moves our understanding of women's lives forwards, providing a position from which to start new debates. This book should become the core text for all courses in early modern England and required reading for any student
covering early modern England more generally." - Jane Whittle, University of Exeter
"It is the extraordinary achievement of Crawford and Mendelson to have demolished the arguments about lack of sources for the lives of early modern Englishwomen once and for all ... Mendelson and Crawford have set out to write a history of "women's experience". This vivid, highly readable book, the product of the two authors' research energies over the past twenty or so years, gives just that ... A major scholarly achievement, it provides a detailed account of the lives of English women which has the depth of local study, and which goes far beyond interpretation of gender ideology as it is found in advice books or prescriptive sources ... it is a tribute to this ground-breaking
book that it contrives always to open up new questions for research while providing the most authoritative account we are likely to have of the lives of women in early modern England." - Lyndal Roper, Times Literary Supplement
"... an excellent book and highly recommended." - Parergon
Preface, acknowledgements, abbreviations, glossary, list of illustrations
1: Contexts:- Medical theories; Religious teachings; The law and its administration; Citizenship; Popular notions; Stereotypes; Misogyny and patriarchy.
2: Life Stages:- Childhood and Adolescence: Early years; Service; Courtship.
3: Adult Life:- Marriage; Maternity; Single women; Widowhood; Old age; Death.
4: Female Culture:- Space; Speech; Material culture; The practice of piety; Female friendship; Passionate friends and lesbian relationships; Female consciousness and feminism.
5: The Makeshift Economy of Poor Women:- Work and gender; Poverty; Making a living; The indigent and destitute.
6: Occupational Identities and Social Roles:- Running a household; Professional and skilled work: medical, educational, and cultural; Crafts, trades, and multiple occupations; Royal, civic, and institutional employment; Public housewifery.
7: Politics:- Female monarchs; Aristocratic women: Queens consort and courtiers; Popular politics before 1640; Women and revolution, 1640-1660; Women in political movements, 1660-1720.