Women Waging Law in Elizabethan England

Overview

This book examines gender relations in Shakespeare's England by looking at women's involvement in lawsuits in the largest courts in the land. It describes women's rights in theory and in practice, considers depictions of women in court scenes in plays, and analyzes the language and tactics women and their lawyers employed in pleadings. The book also reveals how many women went to law, how active they were, the discrimination they suffered, and the importance of the life cycle of marriage in determining their ...

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Overview

This book examines gender relations in Shakespeare's England by looking at women's involvement in lawsuits in the largest courts in the land. It describes women's rights in theory and in practice, considers depictions of women in court scenes in plays, and analyzes the language and tactics women and their lawyers employed in pleadings. The book also reveals how many women went to law, how active they were, the discrimination they suffered, and the importance of the life cycle of marriage in determining their legal fortunes.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Stretton's work on women's litigation in the Court of Requests is a useful contribution to the current investigation of women as agents of legal action, rather than simply as objects of legal limitations. Stretton admirably highlights the gaps between theory and practice in both the law and gender relations, and the variability in the 16th-century legal system..." Choice

"...a quick and accessible read for policymakers and students alike. Its challenge to contemporary liberal thinking about poor women's work make it a provocative text for courses in public welfare policy, women's labor history, and recent feminism, as well as a needed reminder to activists for social justice." Labor History

"Stretton's monograph provides a welcome introduction to the under-studied court of Requests..." Amy M. Froide, Albion

"Stretton provides explanations of women's rights to property under every major juridical structure in Elizabethan England. Indeed, these explanations are so helpful that is likely historians will cite them as frequently as they do the portions of Stretton's book that focus on its clear and interesting argument." American Historical Review

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Product Details

Table of Contents

1. Introduction; 2. Women, legal rights and law courts; 3. Female litigants and the culture of litigation; 4. The court of requests; 5. Unmarried women and widows; 6. Married women; 7. Freebench, custom and equity; 8. Pleading strategies in requests; 9. Women waging law.

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