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This important work is long overdue. It identifies two gaps in the existing historiography.
Chocolate, writes Emma Robertson in the introduction to her monograph, ‘has been invested with specific cultural meanings which are in part connected to … conditions of production’ (p. 3). At the heart of this study is a challenge to existing histories:
Midst the foe, and the stranger she seeks not renown
She courts not their smiles, and she heeds not their frowns
Could she only impart unto childhood and youth
The science of God, of religion, and truth... (p. 110)
This volume makes an excellent contribution to the field of religious and gender history, properly marking the revival of interest in religion within British cultural and social history that has been quietly developing over the past decade.
Of late, the Virgin Mary has become somewhat fashionable in academic circles. This prominence reflects her long-lasting cultural influence as an international historic and spiritual figure.