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.
Seventeen superb essays concern women’s everyday lives and the cultural structures that circumscribed their actions… The editors stress the ability of early modern European women to operate actively in a society that demeaned them, an essential corrective to writings that narrate only the effects of a misogynous culture on its victims.
This volume, like its predecessors, will markedly increase and improve our knowledge of its field of study, laying the ground for much subsequent work.
The third volume of this excellent series explores women’s position in the socioeconomic world of the sixteenth through eighteenth centuries… The essays are unique in that they use evidence and ideals that are particular to women. This volume is a first-rate piece of scholarship, holding wide appeal for just about anyone interested in this time period of history.
- 608 pages
- 6-1/4 x 9-1/4 inches
- Belknap Press
- Series edited by Georges Duby and Michelle Perrot
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