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Exploring the Lives of Women, 1558–1837 (Hardback)

Social History Women of History

By Louise Duckling, Dr Sara Read, Felicity Roberts, Carolyn D Williams
Imprint: Pen & Sword History
Pages: 224
ISBN: 9781526744975
Published: 19th November 2018

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'Exploring the Lives of Women, 1558-1837' is an engaging and lively collection of original, thought-provoking essays. Its route from Lady Jane Grey’s nine-day reign to Queen Victoria’s accession provides ample opportunities to examine complex interactions between gender, rank, and power. Yet the book’s scope extends far beyond queens: its female cast includes servants, aristocrats, literary women, opera singers, actresses, fallen women, athletes and mine workers.

The collection explores themes relating to female power and physical strength; infertility, motherhood, sexuality and exploitation; creativity and celebrity; marriage and female friendship. It draws upon a wide range of primary materials to explore diverse representations of women: illuminating accounts of real women’s lives appear alongside fictional portrayals and ideological constructions of femininity. In exploring women’s negotiations with patriarchal control, this book demonstrates how the lived experience of women did not always correspond to prescribed social and gendered norms, revealing the rich complexity of their lives.

This volume has been published to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the Women’s Studies Group 1558-1837. The group was formed to promote research into any aspect of women’s lives as experienced or depicted within this period. The depth, range and creativity of the essays in this book reflect the myriad interests of its members.

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About Louise Duckling

Louise Duckling is an independent scholar working on eighteenth-century women writers and their posthumous reputations. She has previously co-edited 'Woman to Woman: Female Negotiations in the Long Eighteenth Century', with Carolyn D. Williams and Angela Escott (University of Delaware Press, 2010).


Dr Sara Read

About Dr Sara Read

Dr Sara Read is a lecturer in English at Loughborough University. She holds a PhD in early modern literature. Her particular interest is in representations of the female body in literature and she has published widely in this field. Her first book Menstruation and the Female Body in Early Modern England was published by Palgrave Macmillan in 2013, and she has co-edited a collection of early modern women’s writings on the topic of health and spirituality called Flesh and Spirit: An Anthology of Seventeenth-century Women’s Writing for Manchester University Press, 2014. In addition, Dr Read has published a number of social history articles for Discover Your Ancestors magazine.


About Felicity Roberts

Felicity Roberts is a member of the Women's Studies Group 1558-1837 organising committee. She has a particular interest in the connections between natural history, literature, gender and material culture and has published on Mary Delany’s botanical collages and manuscript novella.


About Carolyn D Williams

Carolyn D. Williams is an Honorary Fellow at the Early Modern Research Centre, University of Reading. Her publications include 'Pope, Homer and Manliness: Some Aspects of Eighteenth-Century Classical Learning' (Routledge, reprinted 2014) and 'Boudica and Her Stories: Narrative Transformations of a Warrior Queen' (University of Delaware Press, 2009).

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