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History of Women in the West, Volume III: Renaissance and the Enlightenment Paradoxes

History of Women in the West, Volume III: Renaissance and the Enlightenment Paradoxes

Edited by Natalie Zemon Davis and Arlette Farge
Translated by Arthur Goldhammer

ISBN 9780674403673

Publication date: 03/15/1995

Volume III of A History of Women draws a richly detailed picture of women in early modern Europe, considering them in a context of work, marriage, and family. At the heart of this volume is “woman” as she appears in a wealth of representations, from simple woodcuts and popular literature to master paintings; and as the focal point of a debate—sometimes humorous, sometimes acrimonious—conducted in every field: letters, arts, philosophy, the sciences, and medicine. Against oppressive experience, confining laws, and repetitious claims about female “nature,” women took initiative by quiet maneuvers and outright dissidence. In conformity and resistance, in image and reality, women from the sixteenth through the eighteenth centuries emerge from these pages in remarkable diversity.


  • Becoming attuned to another way of looking at things, listening to other voices, is an enormously challenging and stimulating task. This volume prompts us in some ways to think the unthinkable, imagine the unimaginable… In good Enlightenment fashion, the editors have demonstrated that one interpretation need not preclude another. In so doing, they have laid the foundation for the next stage of women’s history.

    —Lindsay Wilson, American Historical Review


  • Natalie Zemon Davis was Henry Charles Lea Professor of History, Emerita, Princeton University.
  • Arlette Farge is Director of Research in Modern History, Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, Paris.
  • Georges Duby, a member of the Académie Française, is Professor of Medieval History at the Collège de France.
  • Michelle Perrot is Professor of Contemporary History at the Université de Paris VII.

Book Details

  • 608 pages
  • 6-1/4 x 9-1/4 inches
  • Belknap Press
  • Series edited by Georges Duby and Michelle Perrot