Women in Medieval Europe 1200-1500  book cover
2nd Edition

Women in Medieval Europe 1200-1500

ISBN 9781138855687
Published March 23, 2016 by Routledge
314 Pages

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Book Description

Women in Medieval Europe explores the key areas of female experience in the later medieval period, from peasant women to Queens. It considers the women of the later Middle Ages in the context of their social relationships during a time of changing opportunities and activities, so that by 1500 the world of work was becoming increasingly restricted to women. The chapters are arranged thematically to show the varied roles and lives of women in and out of the home, covering topics such as marriage, religion, family and work.

For the second edition a new chapter draws together recent work on Jewish and Muslim women, as well as those from other ethnic groups, showing the wide ranging experiences of women from different backgrounds. Particular attention is paid to women at work in the towns, and specifically urban topics such as trade, crafts, healthcare and prostitution. The latest research on women, gender and masculinity has also been incorporated, along with updated further reading recommendations.

This fully revised new edition is a comprehensive yet accessible introduction to the topic, perfect for all those studying women in Europe in the later Middle Ages.

Table of Contents

Preface Preface to the Second Edition Abbreviations Introduction 1. Upbringing 2. Marriage 3. Women and Family 4. The House and Household 5. Women and Work in Rural Areas 6. Townswomen and Work 7. Ethnic Minorities: Jews, Muslims and Slaves 8. Women and Power: Noblewomen and Queens 9. Laywomen and the Arts 10. Religious Life: Nuns and Nunneries 11. Religious Life: Beguines, Penitents and Recluses 12. Mystics and Saints 13. Laywomen and Charity 14. Lay Beliefs and Religious Practice 15. Women, Heresy and Witchcraft Conclusion Further Reading Notes Index

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Jennifer Ward spent much of her career at Goldsmiths College, University of London, where she taught medieval and regional history. Her previous publications include: English Noblewomen in the Later Middle Ages (1992); Women of the English Nobility and Gentry 1066–1500 (1995) and Women in England in the Middle Ages (2006).


"This is an excellent book for an undergraduate or graduate course on medieval women. Beautifully organized and thoroughly researched, each chapter provides insight into women’s lives and the social assumptions and patterns that informed their experiences. Ward covers many centuries and cultures thus providing readers with a comprehensive understanding of the era and with many examples of specific women who conformed to or resisted their cultural norms."
Katherine Allocco, Western Connecticut State University, USA

"This new edition of Women in Medieval Europe is impressive both for the wide range of topics and issues covered and for the clarity with which they are presented. The explicit consideration of women from minority groups, and attention to the issue of slavery, are very welcome, and open up valuable materials for discussion. Giving more space to women’s work in both urban and rural contexts does still more to introduce the reader to groups of women who are often invisible in surveys of medieval history. As before, clear and constructive attention is given throughout to previous work, and this makes the book all the more useful as an introduction to a complex and growing subject. The new material will ensure that the book continues to be fundamental for those wishing to gain real insight into all aspects of the lives of women in later medieval Europe."
Anne Lawrence-Mathers, University of Reading, UK