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The words, actions, and treatment of women who came before the courts as plaintiffs, defendants, and witnesses are examined here in a variety of contexts, ranging from the assertion of a variety of rights to scolding, thieving, and witchcraft. The contributors demonstrate that women were far from passive victims in a male-dominated legal system. As both breakers of the law and important agents of its enforcement, women were far more assertive than their formal legal positions would suggest.
The contributors are Garthine Walker, Jenny Kermode, Laura Gowing, Martin Ingram, Jim Sharpe, Malcolm Gaskill, Geoffrey L. Hudson, and Tim Stretton.
|Notes on contributors|
|2||Language, power, and the law: women's slander litigation in early modern London||26|
|3||"Scolding women cucked or washed": crisis in gender relations in early modern England?||48|
|4||Women, theft and the world of stolen goods||81|
|5||Women, witchcraft and the legal process||106|
|6||Witchcraft and power in early modern England: the case of Margaret Moore||125|
|7||Negotiating for blood money: war widows and the courts in seventeenth-century England||146|
|8||Women, custom and equity in the court of requests||170|