Womens Worlds in England presents a unique collection of source materials on womens lives in sixteenth and seventeenth century England. The book introduces a wonderfully diverse group of women and a series of voices that have rarely been heard in history, from Deborah Brackley, a poor Devon servant, to Katharine Whitstone, Oliver Cromwells sister, and Queen Anne. Drawing on unpublished, archival materials, Womens Worlds explores the everyday lives of ordinary early modern women, including their:
* experiences of work, sex, marriage and motherhood
* beliefs and spirituality
* political activities
* mental worlds
In a time when few women could write, this book reveals the multitude of ways in which their voices and experiences leave traces in the written record, and deepens and challenges our understanding of womens lives in the past.
Table of Contents
List of documents -- List of illustrations -- Acknowledgements -- Permissions -- Abbreviations -- Introduction -- 1 BODIES -- Conception and pregnancy; Parturition; Breasts and breastfeeding; Menstruation and reproductive health; Health and beauty -- 2 RELIGION, BELIEFS, SPIRITUALITY -- Spirituality: the journey of the Christian soul; The practice of faith; God and the nation; Popular beliefs -- 3 WORK -- Service; Getting a living; Professions; Running a household: domestic tasks -- 4 POVERTY AND PROPERTY -- Making shift; Poverty and relief; The world of goods -- 5 SEXUAL EXPERIENCES -- Sex and single women; Sex and marriage; Sex between women; Secrecy and adultery; Rape, assaults, and attempts -- 6 MARRIAGE -- Courtship; Wives and husbands; Remarriage -- 7 MATERNITY -- Lying-in; Being a mother; Childcare, health and advice; The maternal relationship -- 8 RELATIONSHIPS -- Neighbours; Families; Friends and lovers; Animals and spirits -- 9 POLITICS AND PROTESTS -- 10 MENTAL WORLDS -- Depression and despair; Fits and disorders; Dreams and visions; Prophesying the future -- Notes -- Further reading -- Glossary -- Index.
Patricia Crawford is Professor of History at the University of Western Australia, and her books include Women in Early Modern England (Oxford University Press, 1998), with Sara Mendelson. Laura Gowing is Senior Lecturer in History at the University of Hertfordshire, and is author of Domestic Dangers: Women, Words, and Sex in Early Modern London (Oxford University Press, 1996).
'This is genuinely a treasure chest of resources for early modernists and historians of women.' - The Economic History Review