Women, Property, and the Letters of the Law in Early Modern England

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Women, Property, and the Letters of the Law in Early Modern England examines the competing narratives of property told by and about women in the early modern period. Through letters, legal treatises, case law, wills, and works of literature, the contributors explore women's complex roles as subjects and agents in commercial and domestic economies, and as objects shaped by a network of social and legal relationships. By constructing conversations across the disciplinary boundaries of legal and social history, ...

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Overview

Women, Property, and the Letters of the Law in Early Modern England examines the competing narratives of property told by and about women in the early modern period. Through letters, legal treatises, case law, wills, and works of literature, the contributors explore women's complex roles as subjects and agents in commercial and domestic economies, and as objects shaped by a network of social and legal relationships. By constructing conversations across the disciplinary boundaries of legal and social history, sociology and literary criticism, the collection explores a diverse range of women's property relationships.

Recent research has revealed fissures in our knowledge about women's property relationships within a regime characterized by competing jurisdictions, diverse systems of tenure, and multiple concepts of property. Women, Property, and the Letters of the Law in Early Modern England turns to these points of departure for the study of women's legal status and property relationships in the early modern period. This interdisciplinary analysis of women and property is written in an accessible manner and will become a valuable resource for scholars and students of Renaissance, Restoration and eighteenth-century literature, early modern social and legal history, and women's studies.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780802087577
  • Publisher: University of Toronto Press, Scholarly Publishing Division
  • Publication date: 8/28/2004
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 270
  • Product dimensions: 6.21 (w) x 9.30 (h) x 1.14 (d)

Meet the Author

A.R. Buck teaches in the Division of Law at Macquarie University.

Margaret W. Ferguson teaches in the Department of English at the University of California, Davis.

Nancy E. Wright is the director of the Centre for the Interdisciplinary Study of Property Rights at the University of Newcastle.

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Table of Contents

Introduction 3
1 Temporal gestation, legal contracts, and the promissory economies of The winter's tale 25
2 Putting women in their place : female litigants at Whitehaven, 1660-1760 50
3 Women's property, popular cultures, and the consistory court of London in the eighteenth century 66
4 The whore's estate : Sally Salisbury, prostitution, and property in eighteenth-century London 95
5 Primogeniture, patrilineage, and the displacement of women 121
6 Isabella's rule : singlewomen and the properties of poverty in Measure for measure 137
7 Marriage, identity, and the pursuit of property in seventeenth-century England : the cases of Anne Clifford and Elizabeth Wiseman 162
8 Cordelia's estate : women and the law of property from Shakespeare to Nahum Tate 183
9 Writing home : Hannah Wolley, the Oxinden letters, and household epistolary practice 201
10 Women's wills in early modern England 219
11 Spiritual property : the English Benedictine nuns of Cambrai and the dispute over the Baker manuscripts 237
12 The titular claims of female surnames in eighteenth-century fiction 256
13 Early modern (aristocratic) women and textual property 281
Afterword 296
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