The title was inspired by the birth, during the writing of this volume, of a child named after the author. A second volume will bring the survey to the present and to some glimpses of that young woman's prospects. The prospect presented here is that of the sleepy young knitter of the 18th century pictured on the cover and of generations before her.
The dust-jacket of this book defines Diane Purkiss as a Lecturer in English; within its pages she prefers to describe herself as a feminist literary critic. It is a potent combination, and has resulted in a thoroughly individual and very important book.
This book is impressively detailed, showing women's experience of demobilisation and the aftermath of armed conflict - an often neglected area of military study relating to women - as well as their feelings about morality, their male counterparts, uniforms, duties and a slew of other subjects.
For a long time the historical study of early modern women seemed destined to be confined to the domestic sphere. Almost axiomatically, 'women' have been treated as a subset of household, family, or marriage.
Historians of early modern marriage have made much use of court records in uncovering the matrimonial difficulties of our ancestors.
The explosion of research on early modern gender in England has focused primarily on the experience or perceptions of women. Alexandra Shepard's excellent new book forms part of a new wave directing our attention equally to the construction of early modern masculinity.
Elizabeth Freke has the distinction among my autobiographical acquaintance of being the memoirist I would least like to meet. This is not because she was toothless, lame, blind and probably bald and, as she said in 1711, 'a diseased criple with a rhumatisme and tisick confined to a chair for this eighteen months past' (p.158).
The reader coming to this volume expecting a major new biography of Henry VIII’s second and most interesting queen is likely to be disappointed.
This is a fascinating and much-welcomed addition to the steadily increasing body of work on medieval queenship that has emerged with the development of this (still) fresh historical discipline over the last twenty years.
In recent decades, the fields of women's and gender studies have rapidly expanded. In trying to understand women's roles in past societies, historians have paid particular attention to issues surrounding marriage, family, and the household.