A Social History of the Cloister: Daily Life in the Teaching Monasteries of the Old Regime

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In The Social History of the Cloister Elizabeth Rapley goes beyond the monastic rulebooks, legal and notarial records, and memoirs of famous women who passed through monastery doors to the chronicles, letters, and other little-known writings produced by nuns for and about themselves. Working from these accounts, Rapley is able to provide a far more complex picture of women who, as a whole, were much less otherworldly than the older convent literature would have us believe, much less thwarted and unhappy than their detractors have long maintained, and much less irrelevant than some historians have assumed. She chips away at the dehumanizing stereotypes that have often been used to describe these nuns to show the essential humanity of these women.

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Product Details

Meet the Author

Elizabeth Rapley is adjunct professor of history at the University of Ottawa, and the author of The Dévotes: Women and Church in Seventeenth-Century France.

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Table of Contents

Introduction 3
Pt. 1 Two Hundred Years
1 The Nuns and Their World 13
2 For Richer, for Poorer: The Monastic System and the Economy 29
3 The Dilemmas of Obedience 49
4 "Personae non gratae": Jansenist Nuns in the Wake of Unigenitus 64
5 The Decline of the Monasteries 78
6 Aftermath 96
Pt. 2 The Anatomy of the Cloister
7 Clausura and Community 111
8 The Three Pillars of Monasticism: Poverty, Chastity, Obedience 130
9 Prehistories 148
10 Novices 164
11 "The Servants of the Brides of Christ" 182
12 Of Death and Dying 198
13 The Institut 219
14 The Pensionnat 234
Conclusion 257
App Demographics of the Cloister 261
Glossary 285
Notes 289
Bibliography 349
Index 371
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