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Medieval Women: Social History Of Women In England 450-1500: A Social History of Women in England 450-1500 (WOMEN IN HISTORY) [Paperback]

Henrietta Leyser
3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
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Book Description


Henrietta Leyser considers the problems and attitudes fundamental to every woman of the time: medieval views on sex, marriage and motherhood; the world of work and the experience of widowhood for peasant, townswoman and aristocrat. The intellectual and spiritual worlds of medieval women are also explored.

MEDIEVAL WOMEN celebrates the diversity and vitality of English women's lives in the Middle Ages.

Frequently Bought Together

Medieval Women: Social History Of Women In England 450-1500: A Social History of Women in England 450-1500 (WOMEN IN HISTORY) + A Brief History of Life in the Middle Ages (Brief Histories) + The Time Traveller's Guide to Medieval England: A Handbook for Visitors to the Fourteenth Century
Price For All Three: 22.59

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Product details

  • Paperback: 337 pages
  • Publisher: Phoenix; New Ed edition (1 Sep 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1842126210
  • ISBN-13: 978-1842126219
  • Product Dimensions: 13.2 x 19.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 79,949 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Book Description

MEDIEVAL WOMEN looks at a thousand years of English history, as it affected - and was made by - women.

About the Author

Henrietta Leyser is a lecturer in medieval history at St Peter's College and St Edmund Hall, Oxford. She studied history at Oxford University both as an undergraduate and as a graduate, and she has taught and lectured at universities in Great Britain and the USA.

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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
59 of 59 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
I don't tend to read much women's history but when I saw the rave reviews this book got in the Literary Review and The Independent ('the best history book I've read for years') I decided to give it a go.
I'm glad I did because this book is a gem, crammed with vivid detail from every corner of women's lives over a thousand years of English history - from medieval sex and motherhood to female aristocrats and intellectuals. There's also a really interesting appendix with laws, poems and even a 13th century gynaecological handbook!
If you want to read a good book written by a top scholar in an easy and engaging style, I can't recommend this book enough.
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29 of 30 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars For the General Reader and the Student 19 April 2003
By Ms. V. Hoyle VINE VOICE
Henrietta Leyser's book on Medieval Women is just one work from the blossoming ranks of studies on the subject. Infinitely accessible it covers all the major basic topic areas from the lives of peasant women to urban widows to the aristocracy. Leyser hasn't strayed into the language of entrenched academics making the book a perfect read for the general reader or the undergraduate student.
There are some gaps - there is a notable lack of reference to women as Queens and Queen Mothers. However, there is a bulk of literature available on the subject seperately and the lack is not too dehabilitating.
Overall, an excellent survey overview with some interesting and often poignant examples.
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26 of 27 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent general history of medieval women 10 Nov 2002
By A Customer
This is a social history (rather than, say, a gender history)of women from the fall of the Roman Empire until the end of the medieval period. Its focus is therefore broader than other general works, most of which ignore women in the period before the year 1300 or thereabouts. Although it must be admitted that more space is devoted to the later Middle Ages, this is perhaps partly due to the greater research done on this time.
The book is very well written and detailed. It is also an easy read, suitable for the general reader as well as students. It also covers an interesting range of themes; the world of work, religious lives and the differing lives of women from different classes, for example. Henrietta Leyser uses a wide range of sources including archeology but is at all times in complete control of her material.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating book 5 Mar 2011
By Q
This is a beautifully written and absolutely facinating book about a period of history little known to the general public.
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Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
My thanks to the author for this well-researched work. I am interested in reading about the changes that were forced upon the English population by the invasions from different cultures, especially from the woman's point of view. This has given me some good insight whilst maintaining an high level of academic material
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4.0 out of 5 stars Medieval Women in England 450-1500 15 Aug 2013
By Keen Reader TOP 500 REVIEWER
I first read this book quite a few years ago (first published in 1995), and thought I would rediscover its delights. The book encompasses a social history of women in England from 450 to 1500. Part One covers the Anglo-Saxon period; archaeology, history and hagiography, law codes and venacular literature. Part Two discusses the eleventh century, and whether 1066 was a year which made much, or indeed any difference to women and their way of life. In Part Three the later Middle Ages are discussed. As more information is available for this period, more detailed chapters are included, covering: Sex, Marriage and Motherhood; Women at Work; Widows. And in Part Four, spirituality and religion are covered, along with culture - monasticism, anchoresses, lay piety, and finally literary interests and images. The author has portrayed many different women and used contemporary evidence to support her examples, which makes the book and its points extremely relevant and interesting. In reading of these women - young servants, married women, aristocratic ladies, widows, nuns and authors - we get a small glimpse into their worlds and come a bit nearer to understanding how their lives may have been lived. Extremely interesting, and a book which repays re-reading and study.
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