A History of Women in the West, Volume III: Renaissance and the Enlightenment Paradoxes

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Volume III of A History of Women draws a richly detailed picture of women in early modern Europe, considering them in a context of work, marriage, and family. At the heart of this volume is "woman" as she appears in a wealth of representations, from simple woodcuts and popular literature to master paintings; and as the focal point of a debate—sometimes humorous, sometimes acrimonious—conducted in every field: letters, arts, philosophy, the sciences, and medicine. Against oppressive experience, confining laws, and repetitious claims about female "nature," women took initiative by quiet maneuvers and outright dissidence. In conformity and resistance, in image and reality, women from the sixteenth through the eighteenth centuries emerge from these pages in remarkable diversity.

Informed by the work of 75 distinguished historians, this five-volume series sets before us an engaging, panoramic chronicle that extends from antiquity to the present day. Volume One offers fresh insight into more than 20 centuries of Greek and Roman history to illustrate how representations of women evolved during this age. 84 illustrations.

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Editorial Reviews

American Historical Review
Becoming attuned to another way of looking at things, listening to other voices, is an enormously challenging and stimulating task. This volume prompts us in some ways to think the unthinkable, imagine the unimaginable...In good Enlightenment fashion, the editors have demonstrated that one interpretation need not preclude another. In so doing, they have laid the foundation for the next stage of women's history.
— Lindsay Wilson
Religious Studies Review
Seventeen superb essays concern women's everyday lives and the cultural structures that circumscribed their actions...The editors stress the ability of early modern European women to operate actively in a society that demeaned them, an essential corrective to writings that narrate only the effects of a misogynous culture on its victims.
— Richard M. Golden
Virginia Quarterly
This volume, like its predecessors, will markedly increase and improve our knowledge of its field of study, laying the ground for much subsequent work.
Library Journal
A welcome new installment of the acclaimed series (Vol. 4: American Feminism from Revolution to World War , LJ 9/15/93), Volume 5 surveys Western women's history through the 1980s. Again, the focus is not strictly chronological; the work examines the social factors of the 20th century in the context of traditional women's issues. The consequences of Freud and Marx; two world wars; nationalism and fascism; reproductive legislation; the bioethical rights of family members; and the feminist movement have created a century of drastic and not always beneficial change. Conspicuously absent are significant treatments of the contributions of American women to 20th-century feminism, though they are acknowledged in the introduction. That criticism aside, this volume and the entire set are essential for all but the smallest libraries. The contributors and editors deserve accolades.-- Jenny Presnell, Miami Univ. Libs., Oxford, Ohio
Library Journal
This five-volume work addresses the history of women from the ancients to the 1980s. Editors George Duby et al. state that this series of books "is the product of a revolution--an ongoing, far-reaching revolution in the relations between men and women in Western societies." It therefore focuses on the western European experience with some attention to North America and "is intended to be not so much a history of women as a history of the relation between the sexes" because that is "the crux of the problem, the source of women's identity and otherness." Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780674403727
  • Publisher: Harvard University Press
  • Publication date: 1/28/1993
  • Series: History of Women in the West Series
  • Pages: 608
  • Product dimensions: 6.57 (w) x 9.48 (h) x 1.53 (d)

Meet the Author

Georges Duby, a member of the Académie Française, is Professor of Medieval History at the Collège de France.

Michelle Perrot is Professor of Contemporary History at the Université de Paris VII.

Natalie Zemon Davis is Henry Charles Lea Professor of History, Emerita, Princeton University.

Arlette Farge is Director of Research in Modern History, Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, Paris.

Arthur Goldhammer received the French-American Translation Prize in 1990 for his translation of A Critical Dictionary of the French Revolution.

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Table of Contents

Writing the History of Women
Georges Duby and Michelle Perrot

Women as Historical Actors
Natalie Zemon Davis and Arlette Farge

1. Works and Days

1. Women, Work, and Family
Olwen Hufton

2. The Body, Appearance, and Sexuality
Sara F. Matthews Grieco

3. The Beautiful Woman
Véronique Nahoum-Grappe Translated by Arthur Goldhammer

4. A Daughter to Educate
Martine Sonnet Translated by Arthur Goldhammer

5. Virgins and Mothers between Heaven and Earth
Elisja Schulte van Kessel Translated by Clarissa Botsford

6. Women in Politics
Natalie Zemon Davis


7. Judging by Images
Françoise Borin Translated by Arthur Goldhammer

2. So Much is Said about Her

8. The Ambiguities of Literature
Jean-Paul Desaive Translated by Arthur Goldhammer

9. The Theater
Eric A. Nicholson

10. A Sampling of Eighteenth-Century Philosophy
Michèle Crampe Casnabet Translated by Arthur Goldhammer

11. The Discourse of Medicine and Science
Evelyne Berriot-Salvadore Translated by Arthur Goldhammer

12. From Conversation to Creation
Claude Dulong Translated by Arthur Goldhammer

13. Female Journalists
Nina Rattner Gelbart

14. Witches
Jean-Michel Sallmann Translated by Arthur Goldhammer

15. Prostitutes
Kathryn Norberg

16. Criminals
Nicole Castan Translated by Arthur Goldhammer

17. Protesters Plain to See
Arlette Farge Translated by Arthur Goldhammer

4. Women's Voices

Gluckel of Hameln, Jewish Merchant Woman
Natalis Zemon Davis

Anne-Françoise Cornet, Parisian Artisan
Arlette Farge Translated by Arthur Goldhammer




Illustration Credits


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