It is a truth universally acknowledged and documented many years ago by David Cressy, that women in early modern England had far lower rates of literacy than men.
Until relatively recently the in-depth historical analysis of Scottish women’s lives has been the preserve of dedicated gender historians. Although it is fair to say that Scottish historians have recently begun to include the lives of women in their research, this is by no means extensive.
In Thomas Cannon’s 1749 pamphlet Ancient and Modern Pederasty Investigated and Exemplify’d, the author recounts a chance meeting with a ‘too polish’d Pederast’ who, ‘attack’d upon the Head, that his Desire was unnatural, thus wrestled in Argument; Unnatural Desire is a Contradiction in Terms; downright Nonsense.
The issues and themes concerning the state and its rulers have until quite recently dominated the historiography of Mughal India. While some scholars argue for the centralized character of the Mughal state, others have pointed out its contested and negotiated nature. More recent scholars have come up with studies that underline the fluidity of the state.
Johanna Rickman remarks that her book resulted from an apparently simple question: 'What happened to noblemen and noblewomen who engaged in extramarital sexual relationships?' (p. 1). She rightly insists that the answers shed light on the interactions of social status and gender, the role of the monarch, and relationships within and between elite kinship networks.
Medieval and early modern literature is full of magic. Invisibility rings, magicians, damsels with healing potions, love potions and many more characters and devices add colour and glamour to the stories, as well as moving the plots in interesting directions. There are also a growing number of recent studies that focus explicitly on the role of magic in these literary works.
The Rule of Women in Early Modern Europe is a collection of papers which originated in a 2005 conference at the University of Miami. The women examined in the essays include queens regnant, consorts and various regents all of whom exercised power either in their own right or through their marital or familial ties.
The Rituals and Rhetoric of Queenship; Medieval to Early Modern is a collection of papers which originated in a conference held at Canterbury Christ Church University in August 2006.
In his new study of Anne Boleyn, George Bernard at no point defines the ‘fatal attractions’ to which his title refers. There is not even an assurance that no rabbits were harmed in the making of the book. Perhaps the title is deliberately polysemous, for we might think of at least six fatal, or metaphorically fatal, attractions exercised by the queen.
What was killing the girls of the Casa della Pietà? This is the question which recurs throughout Nicholas Terpstra’s study of the Pietà, a Florentine charitable shelter for orphaned and abandoned girls. According to Terpstra, the Pietà was ‘the most unsafe place in Florence for a girl to live’ (p.