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on 6 November 2002
Despite being a companion-guide to the author's study of the Medieval knight, this book can be read very easily on its own. It is a useful book because there are few that deal solely with noblewomen rather than Medieval women in general. This has enabled Peter Coss to focus on real women, such as Alice Chaucer and the Pastons, but it has also enabled him to use a wide range of evidence not usually used, such as tomb effigies.

Coss focuses mainly on the Later Middle Ages, but the topic is well introduced as he seeks to explain where the lady came from. Her relations with her lord is the dominant theme running through this book, and Coss seeks to establish that despite living in an undoubtedly patriarchal world, both sexes usually ignored the worst excesses of the misogynistic preaching, and reached an accomodation with each other, even a partnership. A lady's role in the world of chivalry and gentility is also discussed. Negative aspects, like rape and physical violence are also covered.

One negative point is that he does not consider female interactions with each other. He considers how individaul females considered themselves, how men considered them; by leaving out other womens views of other members of their gender there is a bit of a gap here. A woman's daily life is also beyond the scope of this work.

Nevertheless, the work is clear, surprisingly detailed and uses an unusually broad amount of evidence. It is suitable for general readers, and is not purely an academic textbook. It is lavishly illustrted which helps when he is discussing coats of arms and the like. The format of the book is very good, and is well structured. An enjoyable read.
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on 27 April 2014
A detailed and comprehensive work, as expected of Peter Coss. Very well academically cited and illustrated throughout. Not one to read for fun though, only for serious study or particular interest.
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on 21 August 2013
The book is quite focussed on the academic representation of the Lady in art/literature etc of the times, rather than a look at the everyday life of a Lady - to make it clear.
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