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Martin Ingram’s 1987 book Church Courts, Sex and Marriage in England, 1570–1640 is celebrated for many reasons.(1) Not least, it is recognised for its importance in rescuing ecclesiastical courts from previous unfavourable assessments that branded them corrupt and inefficient.
This book offers an investigation into the Anglo-Saxon cultural province of Francia during the eighth century (more specifically the area between the Middle Main and Tauber valleys), which, to borrow the author’s own words, ‘argues that the Christian culture of that region was thoroughly gender-egalitarian and in many ways feminist’ (p. 3).
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.
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.
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.
In moving the California missions into the public sphere, Reyes has provided us with a rich and multi-layered glimpse into the lives of California women.