Nature's Cruel Stepdames: Murderous Women in the Street Literature of Sevententh Centruy England (Medieval and Renaissance Literary Studies Series)by Susan C. Staub
Pub. Date: 03/28/2005
Publisher: Duquesne University Press
A unique selection of seventeenth century pamphlets revealing the popular press's obsessive concern with female violence—a violence that is almost always domestic—is presented in this book, along with a discussion of the texts' historical and cultural contexts. Modernized and annotated, these pamphlets vividly illustrate the precarious and often contradictory legal position of the early modern English woman. Because the early modern woman was so thoroughly defined by her marital status (either married or to be married), the crimes chronicled in this study—infanticide, child murder and husband murder—focus almost exclusively on women's roles as wives and mothers. Chosen both for the class and social issues they investigate and for their correspondence to the traditional stages of a woman's existence in those times (maid, wife, and widow), the pamphlets included in this study offer an invaluable resource for interrogating the domestic, economic, and legal condition of seventeenth century women.
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