Uncertain Unions: Marriage in England 1660-1753

Hardcover | July 1, 1992

byLawrence Stone

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In Road to Divorce, Lawrence Stone explored the different ways in which marriage took place, and analysed the confusion and uncertainty surrounding the legality of the institution in its various forms before the Marriage Act of 1753. He now shows in absorbing detail, through a series ofcase-studies, how courting and marrying couples tended to manoeuvre around the ambiguities of the law, and how they sometimes became entangled in a web of moral and legal contradiction leading to personal catastrophe. There are stories about unwise courtship, prenuptial pregnancies, forcedmarriages by parents or parish officials, bigamy, clandestine marriages often performed in haste in peculiarly squalid circumstances and repented at leisure. These fascinating studies reveal in intimate, often ribald detail how men and women adjusted their sexual conduct, moral attitudes, andmatrimonial plans to suit an ambiguous legal situation. Professor Stone has traced the ways in which, during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, demands by individuals for love and affection were starting to take precedence over family interests and parental dictation in the search for a spouse; the studies he has drawn from court record forUncertain Unions enable us to see this great moral transition being played out in the lives of men and women, often in their own words. These are vivid, human histories, presented in revealing detail, by the leading historian of the family.

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In Road to Divorce, Lawrence Stone explored the different ways in which marriage took place, and analysed the confusion and uncertainty surrounding the legality of the institution in its various forms before the Marriage Act of 1753. He now shows in absorbing detail, through a series ofcase-studies, how courting and marrying couples t...

Lawrence Stone is the author of the acclaimed Road to Divorce (OUP, 1990), Family and Fortune (Clarendon Press, 1973), The Crisis of the Aristocracy 1558-1641 (Clarendon Press, 1965), and, with J. C. F. Stone, of An Open Elite? England 1540-1880 (OUP, 1984). His other publications include The Past and the Present (Routledge and Kegan ...

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Format:HardcoverDimensions:294 pages, 9.21 × 6.14 × 0.94 inPublished:July 1, 1992Publisher:Oxford University Press

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0198202539

ISBN - 13:9780198202530

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`A meticulous documentation of human behaviour.'The Observer