In London between 1918 and 1924, the social, economic, and – crucially – sexual freedoms of six young women became the conceptual battleground on which the outcomes of a series of high-profile criminal and civil trials for libel, murder, drug-taking, and divorce were determined.
This well-crafted volume of ten essays is an important contribution to the growing body of research on women and law in England the pre-modern period. Each essay examines a different aspect of women’s interactions with the law (broadly defined and encompassing both secular and ecclesiastical courts) and, as suggested in the title, foregrounds their agency.
Both the problematic discourses of ‘professional/amateur’ and ‘public/private spheres’, and also the multifaceted hierarchies between the fine and the applied arts, have received substantial academic enquiry in the last thirty years. This is particularly true for the art historians researching the cultural activities of middle-class women in 19th-century Britain.
With essays detailing everything from the experiences of old women to an examination of convent music, The Ashgate Research Companion to Women and Gender in Early Modern Europe promises ‘a comprehensive and authoritative state-of-the art review’ of historiography pertaining to the lives of women between 1400 and 1800 (p. ii).
Elizabeth I (1533–1603) has been the subject of many fictional representations, some as early as the 1680s, speculating about her private life. Theatre plays, novels and later also films explored the allegations made against her during her life-time, such as suggestions that the Queen was infertile, that she was malformed, or in fact, a man or a hermaphrodite (p. 355).
Women, Work and Sociability in Early Modern London is Tim Reinke-Williams’ first monograph, drawn from elements of his PhD thesis ‘The negotiation and fashioning of female honour in early modern London’.(1) Crucially, it is also the first work dedicated solely to the exploration of how women from the ‘middling sort’ and labouring poor constructed iden
In Mediatrix Julie Crawford seeks to expand our understanding of women’s contributions to early modern literary and political culture. Crawford seeks to look beyond the concept of the woman writer to instead focus on the ‘startling range of women’s literary practices’ and the ‘collaborative nature of literary production’ in pre-modern England (p. 3, p. 4).
Julie-Marie Strange’s study of Victorian and Edwardian fatherhood begins with a question. In her 1908 collection of essays, M. E. Loane, a district nurse, asked, ‘Is the working-class father as black as he is painted?’ (p. 1). It is this question that animates the exploration of the problematic narratives and stereotypes of fatherhood in the 19th and early 20th centuries that follows.
In late 1909, a suffragette attacked the Asquith government’s youthful President of the Board of Trade, slashing his face with a whip as he prepared to give a speech in Bristol station. Briefly stunned, he fell toward the station’s tracks at the same moment a train pulled out of the station.
Containing a diverse range of essays on the experiences of early modern women from female investors to indentured servants, Challenging Orthodoxies: The Social and Cultural Worlds of Early Modern Women is an important contribution to the growing body of research on early modern female experience. First presented at a conference held in honour of Hilda L.