Womens Roles during the Renaissance

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For the first time, a content-rich survey on Renaissance women for students and the general public is available. The story of the Renaissance has usually been told from the elite male perspective. Here, the lives of women and girls from a wide range of classes, religions, and countries in Europe take center stage. Women had a significant impact on the economy, social structures, and the culture of the Renaissance, despite the constraints on their exercise of power, lack of opportunities, enforced dependence, and exclusion from politics, government, science, law, banking, and more. Women's Roles in the Renaissance examines the attitudes and practices that shaped the varied roles of women then, but also the important ways women shaped the world in which they lived. The focus is on both the ideas that circulated about women and on the difference between representations of them and their everyday life experiences.

The narrative draws from a wide variety of sources on every aspect of women's lives. Narrative topical chapters cover women and education, the law, work, politics, religion, literature, the arts, and pleasures. Numerous women are profiled, and a plethora of quotations and examples of their work provides a sense of their spirit. Many period illustrations are included that highlight the text. This will prove to be a most valuable one-volume resource on a high-interest topic.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"[I]mportant to any college-level European holding is Meg Lota Brown and Kari Boyd McBride's Women's Roles in the Renaissance….A range of sources provide narrative topical chapters on everything from education and daily life to women in politics, religion, the arts and more, providing period illustrations to round out the offerings."


MBR Bookwatch

"[T]his book examines the many ways that women shaped and were shaped by the period from 1300 to 1699. Brown and McBride summarize the major ideas held about women in the premodern era and explore the intersection of those ideas with women's everyday lives….The book echoes the pioneering work of Merry Wiesner, Natalie Zemon Davis, and other feminist historians. Recommended. General and undergraduate collections."



"Women from roughly the thirteenth through the seventeenth centuries found their conditions in life changing, sometimes rather rapidly. In some cases, they were prevented from a career in the Church because certain Protestant faiths prohibited them from entering religion; in others, they found they could operate businesses entirely on their own. Some were mathematicians while others were not allowed to learn to read. In nearly all cases, with the possible exceptions of queens regnant, their roles were subordinate to those of men, whether in work, the law, literature, or the arts. In this text for general readers, the authors cover a great deal of ground in a relatively limited space, but manage to describe the accomplishments of many of the women who formed the Renaissance, one family or so at a time and on a day-to-day basis."


Art Book News Annual

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780313322105
  • Publisher: Greenwood Publishing Group, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 7/28/2005
  • Series: Women's Roles through History
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 376
  • Product dimensions: 6.24 (w) x 9.52 (h) x 1.25 (d)

Meet the Author

MEG LOTA BROWN is Professor of English at the University of Arizona, Tucson.

KARI BOYD McBRIDE is Associate Professor and Undergraduate Director in the Women's Studies Department, Faculty Affiliate in the Department of English, and Director of the Group for Early Modern Studies at the University of Arizona, Tucson.

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Table of Contents

Introduction : women and the Renaissance 1
Ch. 1 Women and education 27
Ch. 2 Women and the law 53
Ch. 3 Women and work 89
Ch. 4 Women and politics 125
Ch. 5 Women and religion 153
Ch. 6 Women and literature 195
Ch. 7 Women and the arts 241
Ch. 8 Women and pleasures 277
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