This is the third book on Russian women of the late nineteenth and early twentieth century collectively authored by Jane McDermid and Anna Hillyar of Southampton University.
The study of masculinity as a specific topic (rather than an implicit element) is not utterly new: work in sociology in the 1980s, cultural studies in the 1990s, and concerns of feminist criticism from much earlier have laid the foundations for studying how men set about being men. Historians have also engaged with the topic, most notably in work on the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.
The two works under review are on broadly the same subject - writing by women in later medieval England - but could not be more different and are therefore difficult to compare directly. One author is an historian, the other a literary scholar.
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.
This exciting new study argues that medieval aristocratic women not only had power to exercise authority, but that they did so in different capacities depending on the times of their life cycle.
The tenacity of the Women’s Voluntary Services (WVS: they were awarded ‘Royal’ status in 1966) in maintaining their unique position in the voluntary sector must, in no small degree, be due to the powerful personality of its founder, the redoubtable Stella Charnaud, Lady Reading.
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).
In this innovative and interesting study, Antoinette Burton raises questions and extends the parameters of discussion in relation to a number of key issues that concern the relationship between women, the home and colonial modernity in twentieth century colonial India.