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Married Life in the Middle Ages offers a refreshing approach to medieval marriage. Elisabeth van Houts focuses on the social and emotional sides of marriage rather than viewing marriage through a legal or institutional lens. Two aspects of van Houts’ book set it apart from others.
Both Mulder-Bakker’s study and, especially, the edition and translation of the Life of Gertrude Rickeldey, promise to be valuable resources for those studying the lives of lay religious women in the later Middle Ages. The text itself engages with intersecting questions of the legal and social identities of such women, and of their roles in urban communities.
This book offers an investigation into the Anglo-Saxon cultural province of Francia during the eighth century (more specifically the area between the Middle Main and Tauber valleys), which, to borrow the author’s own words, ‘argues that the Christian culture of that region was thoroughly gender-egalitarian and in many ways feminist’ (p. 3).
The past two decades have seen a flourishing of scholarship devoted to female Catholic piety in early modern Europe, which has helped to balance the substantial historiography on women and the Protestant Reformation.