Top positive review
7 people found this helpful
Excellent overview of history of nuns
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.