A new and major contribution to the field, Women in European Culture and Society is a transnational history of women in Europe from the beginning of the eighteenth century that pushes women’s history beyond national studies to create an integrated view of three hundred years of women in Europe. Using a longue durée, the book disentangles the accounts of industrialisation and bourgeois femininity which tend to dominate women’s studies, and questions the dominant narratives of history.
Drawing on women’s own writing and cultural production, it presents women as agents of change as well as exploring cultural perceptions of women and the ways in which women have been represented by these discourses. It explicitly engages with how women contributed as practitioners to shaping the culture and society of western Europe.
The geographical range and generational breadth of this study provides a cohesive vision of women’s lives up to the present day. Women in European Culture and Society is an invaluable and essential guide to the conditions, circumstances and understandings of how women lived throughout Europe.
Table of Contents
Overture Part 1: Rights of Man and Duties of Woman. Prelude: Women's Identity in Eighteenth-century Culture. Timeline. 1. Intimate Lives: Self, Sex and Family 2. Community Spaces 3. Wider Worlds: Gendering the Enlightenment Intermezzo: The Revolutionary Era. Timeline. Part 2: Domesticity and Industrialism Prelude: The Legacy of the Enlightenment. Timeline. 4. Intimate Worlds: Our Mothers' Daughters 5. Community Spaces: Labour, Leisure and Consumption 6. Shaping wider worlds Intermezzo: La Belle Époque or Fin de Siècle? Timeline. Part 3: Modern Times Prelude: Carrying Linda’s Stones. Timeline. 7. Intimacy and Independence 8. The Transitional Community 9. Women Go Public Coda: Gender, skill and Identity. Further reading
Deborah Simonton is Associate Professor of British History at the University of Southern Denmark and Fellow of the Royal Historical Society. Her publications include The Routledge History of Women in Modern Europe (2006), A History of European Women’s Work (1998), co-editor of Gender in Scottish History (2006).
'With 27 well-chosen illustrations, effective use of sub-headings to signpost the key issues in the book and a detailed grasp of primary and secondary material, this book deserves a wide audience among teachers and students. That it is so well written and structured is a bonus.' – Richard Brown, The Historical Association
'The geographical breadth of the study enables the author to draw comparisons and contrasts in ways absent from most studies and in doing so, she provides a valuable guide to the conditions, circumstances and understandings of how women lived throughout Europe.' - Richard Brown, The Historical Association
"Deborah Simonton has written a comprehensive work that brings together a large amount of information on a broad spectrum of women's activities over three centuries in a way that successfully avoids both simplifications and exclusive expert-oriented language...the book will be appreciated by teachers and students as well as those interested in learning more about women's history." - Jitka Malečková in European History Quarterly
"The textbook that instructors of European women's history courses have been waiting for... Superb." - Mary Lynn Stewart, The European Legacy: Toward New Paradigms