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Palgrave Macmillan

Women In Late Medieval and Reformation Europe 1200-1550

ISBN 9780333912560
Publication Date January 2007
Formats Hardcover Ebook (EPUB) Paperback Ebook (PDF) 
Publisher Palgrave Macmillan
Series European Culture and Society Series

The period from c. 500 to 1200 comprises the formative centuries in European history after the fall of the Roman Empire in the west. Societies had to live through political, social, economic and religious challenges. Half the population, though, also had to labour under additional constraints imposed by the prevalent gender theories, which carried a mixture of inherited Judeo-Christian tradition and classical medical and legal custom through the period.

Helen M. Jewell provides a lively survey of western European women's activities and experiences during this timespan. The core chapters investigate:
- the function of women in the countryside and towns
- the role of women in the ruling and landholding classes
- women within the context of religion.
This practical centre of the book is embedded in an analysis of contemporary, usually male-voiced, gender theories and society's expectations of women. Several individuals who vastly exceeded these expectations, crashing through the 'glass ceilings' of their day, are brought together in a fascinating final chapter.

Combining a historiographical survey of trends over the last thirty years with more recent scholarship, this is the ideal introductory guide for anyone with an interest in women's history from the Dark Age through to the early Medieval period.

HELEN M. JEWELL was formerly Senior Lecturer in the School of History at the University of Liverpool, UK. Her previous publications include Women in Medieval England (Manchester University Press, 1996).

Preface
Introduction
Contemporary Gender Theory and Society's Expectations of Women
The Practical Situation: Women's Function in Rural Communities
The Practical Situation: Women's Function in Urban Communities
Women and Power: Royal and Landholding Women
Women and Religion
Women who Exceeded Society's Expectations
Conclusions
Further Reading
Index

Reviews

'Helen Jewell's books provide an up-to-date survey of the lives of medieval women, with valuable insights into society, economy, politics, religion and culture.' - Jennifer Ward, Lady Margaret Hall (The Brown Book)
'...an excellent introduction to the study of medieval women across a substantial geographical and chronological span, and with plentiful suggestions for reading in order to pursue further study.' - Sarah James, Women's History Magazine
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