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Palgrave Macmillan

Women, Work and Sociability in Early Modern London

ISBN 9781137372093
Publication Date April 2014
Formats Hardcover Ebook (EPUB) Ebook (PDF) 
Publisher Palgrave Macmillan
Series Genders and Sexualities in History

This is the first work to explore how women from the middling sorts and the labouring poor fashioned identities as honest individuals of good repute. Using depositions, interrogations and trial reports from the London church courts, the Bridewell hospital and the Old Bailey, alongside ballads, jest-books, pamphlets and plays, this book outlines how women's working roles as mothers, housewives, servants, domestic managers and retailers, as well as their social interactions with their fellow Londoners, shaped their reputations in a growing metropolis which was to become the largest city in Europe by 1700. By paying equal attention to both paid and unpaid forms of work, and by covering the whole of the seventeenth century rather than solely the decades before 1640 or after 1660, this book provides the most holistic study to date of early modern notions of female honesty, credit and worth.

Tim Reinke-Williams is Lecturer in History at the University of Northampton, UK. His research focuses on how ideas and practices of gender shaped the mentalities and experiences of women and men in early modern England. His publications include articles in the journals Gender and History and Continuity and Change.

1. Motherhood
2. Housewifery
3. Domestic Management
4. Retailing
5. Sociability


"Women, Work and Sociability in Early Modern London is a comprehensive, well-written and exciting addition to a growing scholarship investigating how the middling sort and labouring poor forged and expressed positive identities for themselves in early modern England, particularly through their work and sociability. It particularly opens up new directions for histories of women's work during this period, moving away from the arguable binaries of previous historiography which has so often limited itself to particular evidence bases." - Reviews in History
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