The French Revolution opened a whole new stage in the history of women, despite their conspicuous absence from the playbill. The coming century would see women’s subordination to men codified in all manner of new laws and rules; and yet the period would also witness the birth of feminism, the unprecedented emergence of women as a collective force in the political arena.
The fourth volume in this world-acclaimed series covers the distance between these two poles, between the French Revolution and World War I. It gives us a vibrant picture of a bourgeois century, dynamic and expansive, in which the role of woman in the home was stressed more and more, even as the economic pressures and opportunities of the industrial revolution drew her out of the house; in which woman’s growing role in the family as the center of all morals and virtues pressed her into public service to fight social ills.
The fourth volume in the ambitious project of the French historians Duby and Perrot to present the history of women from the antiquities till now proves that strong ambitions are worth pursuing. After antiquity, the Middle Ages, and the early modern period, this fourth volume deals with the nineteenth century. The final volume about the twentieth century is already published and with that a true masterpiece is done… This volume is fascinating, mainly because it gives such an extensive and comprehensive overview of the discourses of femininity and gender, and of all the arguments which have been used in relation to these themes in everyday knowledge, public debates, and social policies.
A History of Women in the West is ambitious in conception and impressive in realization.
A History of Women in the West is a collection of thoughtful essays by leading European and American scholars… After so many centuries of confinement, drudgery, anonymity and speculation about whether or not women qualify as human, how fine to come to Volume IV and such bracing chapters as ‘Daughters of Liberty and Revolutionary Citizens’ and ‘Stepping Out!’
- 652 pages
- 6-1/4 x 9-1/4 inches
- Belknap Press
- Series edited by Georges Duby and Michelle Perrot
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