History, Department of


Date of this Version

Winter 1986


Published in ALBION: A QUARTERLY JOURNAL CONCERNED WITH BRITISH STUDIES, Vol. 18, No. 4 (Winter, 1986), pp. 654-655. Copyright © 1986 Appalachian State University, published by University of Chicago Press. Used by permission.


Though there has been in recent years a substantial development in the research and writing on women in early modern England, work on women's experience and status in this period is still at an early stage. Many of the other fine studies that have been published recently have focused on upper-class women. Mary Prior's edited collection, Women in English Society, 1500-1800, takes a different approach and centers on other socio-economic groups. It is a further example of the new work in feminist scholarship on such topics as religion, work, and family in early modern England from the vantage point of gender. Prior states that the purpose of her collection is to focus on generalized women's experiences through investigating small groups of women intensively using primarily methods of historical demography and local history. The book attempts to cover a wide range of women's activities and conditions, and, indeed, some of the essays present information on groups of women that is not otherwise easily accessible. ... In general, however, this is an excellent collection that furthers the inquiry into women's experience and it is work of this nature that will lead to a greater understanding of the impact of gender on religion, work, and the family in early modern England.

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