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.