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Both the problematic discourses of ‘professional/amateur’ and ‘public/private spheres’, and also the multifaceted hierarchies between the fine and the applied arts, have received substantial academic enquiry in the last thirty years. This is particularly true for the art historians researching the cultural activities of middle-class women in 19th-century Britain.
In Mediatrix Julie Crawford seeks to expand our understanding of women’s contributions to early modern literary and political culture. Crawford seeks to look beyond the concept of the woman writer to instead focus on the ‘startling range of women’s literary practices’ and the ‘collaborative nature of literary production’ in pre-modern England (p. 3, p. 4).
Amanda E. Herbert’s fresh and important study of women’s alliances in early modern Britain opens with a quotation from Mary Evelyn listing the duties of elite women in the late 17th century. Reading as follows: ‘the care of children’s education, observing a husband’s commands, assisting the sick, relieving the poor, and being serviceable to our friends’ (p. 1).
Women, Work and Sociability in Early Modern London is Tim Reinke-Williams’ first monograph, drawn from elements of his PhD thesis ‘The negotiation and fashioning of female honour in early modern London’.(1) Crucially, it is also the first work dedicated solely to the exploration of how women from the ‘middling sort’ and labouring poor constructed iden
Over years of supervising student dissertations I have been petitioned by many with a wish to undertake a study of gender (or more particularly women) and the Scottish Enlightenment. I usually caution against this. Gender relative to the Enlightenment is so very difficult to pin down. The Enlightenment, after all, wasn’t something that anyone knew they were doing or experiencing.
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.
W. B. Yeats’s famous poem, ‘Easter 1916’, is an ambivalent celebration of the new pantheon of heroes created when, through the means of a failed nationalist rebellion in Dublin, ‘a terrible beauty is born’.
In the recent years, queenship has interested and fascinated numerous scholars.(1) While some queens, notably British and French ones, have already received interest from historians, this study is keen on shedding light on the female rulers of the Mediterranean.
With essays detailing everything from the experiences of old women to an examination of convent music, The Ashgate Research Companion to Women and Gender in Early Modern Europe promises ‘a comprehensive and authoritative state-of-the art review’ of historiography pertaining to the lives of women between 1400 and 1800 (p. ii).
Lady Grisell Baillie (1665–1746) graces the front cover of this volume, her poise and thoughtful, questioning expression a fitting overture for a book that is peppered with images of 18th-century Scottish women, literally making them more visible.