Browse all Reviews
Anyone who has been researching or simply been interested in female monasticism in medieval England must have noticed a frustrating scarcity of primary sources which has resulted result in relatively meagre secondary literature. Paradoxically, we know more about the spiritual life of medieval nuns than we know about more mundane areas of their life.
Working Women in English Society offers a fascinating insight into the numerous ways in which women engaged with the market economy in England between 1300 and 1620.
As a reviewer who regards himself as a pioneer in the study of medieval sexuality, I judge this book as the best short introduction to medieval sexuality that I have read. The first chapter is an outstanding examination of the problems of writing about sex in medieval Europe.
In recent decades, the fields of women's and gender studies have rapidly expanded. In trying to understand women's roles in past societies, historians have paid particular attention to issues surrounding marriage, family, and the household.
This is a fascinating and much-welcomed addition to the steadily increasing body of work on medieval queenship that has emerged with the development of this (still) fresh historical discipline over the last twenty years.
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 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.
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.
Margaret of Anjou, unlike most medieval queens, has been the subject of many biographies over the centuries but Helen E. Maurer's feminist approach to the queen's political life offers a substantially new presentation of Henry VI's queen.
Gender in History is a timely publication. The field of gender history is reaching maturity in two senses. Firstly, numerous studies have been published about the impact of gender at various times and places. Professor Merry Wiesner-Hanks draws on this wealth of scholarship and her own research to provide a welcome overview of gender in global history from prehistory to date.