The Marriage Exchange: Property, Social Place, and Gender in Cities of the Low Countries, 1300-1550 / Edition 2

The Marriage Exchange: Property, Social Place, and Gender in Cities of the Low Countries, 1300-1550 / Edition 2

by Martha C. Howell
     
 

ISBN-10: 0226355152

ISBN-13: 9780226355153

Pub. Date: 06/28/1998

Publisher: University of Chicago Press

Medieval Douai was one of the wealthiest cloth towns of Flanders, and it left an enormous archive documenting the personal financial affairs of its citizens--wills, marriage agreements, business contracts, and records of court disputes over property rights of all kinds.

Based on extensive research in this archive, this book reveals how these documents were produced

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Overview

Medieval Douai was one of the wealthiest cloth towns of Flanders, and it left an enormous archive documenting the personal financial affairs of its citizens--wills, marriage agreements, business contracts, and records of court disputes over property rights of all kinds.

Based on extensive research in this archive, this book reveals how these documents were produced in a centuries-long effort to regulate--and ultimately to redefine--property and gender relations. At the center of the transformation was a shift from a marital property regime based on custom to one based on contract. In the former, a widow typically inherited her husband's property; in the latter, she shared it with or simply held it for his family or offspring. Howell asks why the law changed as it did and assesses law's effects on both social and gender meanings but she insists that the reform did not originate in general dissatisfaction with custom or a desire to disempower widows. Instead, it was born in a complex economic, social and cultural history during which Douaisiens gradually came to think about both property and gender in new ways.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780226355153
Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
Publication date:
06/28/1998
Series:
Women in Culture and Society Series
Edition description:
1
Pages:
294
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.90(d)

Table of Contents

Foreword
Acknowledgments
Note on Money, Dates, and Names
Introduction1
Ch. 1From Custom to Contract27
Ch. 2The Social Context of Custom47
Ch. 3Legal Reform as Social Engineering72
Ch. 4The Social Logic - and Illogic - of Custom97
Ch. 5An Alternative Logic124
Ch. 6Living with the New144
Ch. 7The Weight of Experience174
Ch. 8The Douaisien Reform in Historical Context196
Conclusion: Marie, Franchoise, and Their Sisters229
App. AThe Evolution of Douai's Douaire Coutumier240
App. BWritten Custom and Old Custom in Douai242
Glossary of Legal Terminology244
Glossary of Measures247
Bibliography249
Index265

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