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This well-crafted volume of ten essays is an important contribution to the growing body of research on women and law in England the pre-modern period. Each essay examines a different aspect of women’s interactions with the law (broadly defined and encompassing both secular and ecclesiastical courts) and, as suggested in the title, foregrounds their agency.
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
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.
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).
In the latest of our occasional Reviews in History podcast series, Jordan Landes talks to Amanda Herbert about her new book, Female Alliances: Gender, Identity, and Friendship in Early Modern Britain.
Amanda Herbert is assistant professor of history at Christopher Newport University.
Elizabeth I (1533–1603) has been the subject of many fictional representations, some as early as the 1680s, speculating about her private life. Theatre plays, novels and later also films explored the allegations made against her during her life-time, such as suggestions that the Queen was infertile, that she was malformed, or in fact, a man or a hermaphrodite (p. 355).
Gemma Allen’s well-conceived and meticulously researched first book explores the ways in which themes of education, piety and politics interacted and impacted on the lives of the Cooke sisters in late 16th-century England.
On the second day of the Gender and Political Culture conference at the University of Plymouth, 30 August 2013, participants filed into the auditorium of the Ronald Levinsky Centre to hear a keynote speech given by the formidable Merry Wiesner Hanks.