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on 6 September 2009
This excellent overview of the history and achievment of nuns should be of interest in all who wish to explore women's history in the early modern period. Evangelisti, who has mainly been concerned academically with Italy around 1600, ranges widely here, not only in Italy, Spain, France and Germany, but in the Spanish and French-speaking New Worlds: all readers, whether from Catholic or non-Catholic backgrounds will learn a great deal about these often intrepid and creative nuns. There have been several fascinating studies of the culture of nuns in recent years - of nuns as mystics, musicians, writers, and art patrons - which Silvia Evangelisti has helped make accessible here to non-specialists. The multi-faceted character of convents emerges - sometimes sites of fervent, austere devotion or communal creativity, sometimes comfortable refuges for the genteel, sometimes near-prisons for daughters of impecunious families.
The writing is clear and lively, the topics covered well balanced. However, Evangelisti is not a native English speaker, and there are quite a number of occasions when the word used is very clearly wrong, for example, 'lockers' for 'locks'. The editor,or friends of the author, really should have ironed these out. This is a minor quibble, however, and many general readers will surely find the topic of nuns very much more interesting than they might have anticipated.
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on 29 May 2014
Obviously the author did an immense amount of research on this book, but while interesting, it did not come alive for me. I found it rather dry and the sheer amount of research weighed it down. There was very little authorial opinion; the reader was mostly left to draw his or her own conclusions on the ways women were either liberated or oppressed by convent life. I would have liked more analysis and a more critical tone. It read rather like a PhD thesis: perhaps this is what it originally was.
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on 7 November 2010
Pleased with seller in terms of packaging and delivery and the book was pristine new. Good reading if you are interested in this subject.
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on 12 February 2013
Very good overview of the history of the female maonastic movement and it's eventual expansion into the world outside the cloister.
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on 3 February 2016
Arrived a whole week before I was expecting it, easily readable and informative.
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on 23 March 2016
An excellent read once into the first chsprer which is a little hard going.
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