City Women: Money, Sex, and the Social Order in Early Modern London

Paperback | October 8, 2014

byEleanor Hubbard

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City Women is a major new study of the lives of ordinary women in sixteenth- and seventeenth-century London. Drawing on thousands of pages of Londoners' depositions for the consistory court, it focuses on the challenges that preoccupied London women as they strove for survival and prefermentin the burgeoning metropolis. Balancing new demographic data with vivid case studies, Eleanor Hubbard explores the advantages and dangers that the city had to offer, from women's first arrival in London as migrant maidservants, through the vicissitudes of marriage, widowhood, and old age.In early modern London, women's opportunities were tightly restricted. Nonetheless, before 1640 the city's unique demographic circumstances provided unusual scope for marital advancement, and both maids and widows were quick to take advantage of this. Similarly, moments of opportunity emerged whenthe powerful sexual anxieties that associated women's speech and mobility with loose behaviour came into conflict with even more powerful anxieties about the economic stability of households and communities. As neighbours and magistrates sought to reconcile their competing priorities in cases ofillegitimate pregnancy, marital disputes, working wives, remarrying widows, and more, women were able to exploit the resulting uncertainty to pursue their own ends. By paying close attention to the aspirations and preoccupations of London women themselves, their daily struggles, small triumphs, anddomestic tragedies, City Women provides a valuable new perspective on the importance and complexity of women's roles in the growing capital, and on the pragmatic nature of early modern English society as a whole.

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From the Publisher

City Women is a major new study of the lives of ordinary women in sixteenth- and seventeenth-century London. Drawing on thousands of pages of Londoners' depositions for the consistory court, it focuses on the challenges that preoccupied London women as they strove for survival and prefermentin the burgeoning metropolis. Balancing new d...

Since receiving her Ph.D. from Harvard University in 2009, Eleanor Hubbard has been an assistant professor in the history department of Princeton University, where she specializes in the social and cultural history of early modern Britain.
Format:PaperbackDimensions:326 pages, 9.21 × 6.14 × 0.01 inPublished:October 8, 2014Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0198722044

ISBN - 13:9780198722045

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Table of Contents

Introduction1. In Search of Preferment2. Making a Match3. Maidservants Adrift4. Household Mistresses5. Public Lives6. Her Honest Labour7. Dealing with DeathConclusionBibliography

Editorial Reviews

"impressive in the depth of its archival research, sophistication of it quantitative analyses, and inventive in its collective biography. It will be both a major intervention in its field and an indispensable resource for scholars." --Best Book on Women and Gender 2012 Prize Committee, Society for the Study of Early Modern Women 29/09/2013