Household Politics

Conflict in Early Modern England
Author(s): 
Herzog, Don
ISBN: 
9780300180787
Date published: 
May 2013
Hardback
Price: 
£22.50

Early modern English canonical sources and sermons often urge the subordination of women. In Household Politics, Don Herzog argues that these sources were blather—not that they were irrelevant, but that plenty of people rolled their eyes at them. Indeed many held that a man had to be an idiot or a buffoon to try to act on their hoary “wisdom.” Households didn’t bask serenely in naturalized or essentialized patriarchy. Instead, husbands, wives, and servants struggled endlessly over authority. Nor did some insidiously gendered public/private distinction make the political subordination of women invisible. Conflict, Herzog argues, doesn't corrode social order: it's what social order usually consists in. He uses the argument to impeach conservatives and their radical critics for sharing confused alternatives. The social world Herzog brings vibrantly alive is much richer—and much pricklier—than many imagine.