This work considers the situation of all kinds of women, in all aspects of their lives, across the whole of Western Europe over three centuries. Chapters cover female rites of passage - girlhood and work, marriage, married life and work, parenthood and widowhood. It looks in detail at those women who deviated from the norm in some way - the sexually deveiant or unlucky, prostitutes, witches or saints, Protestant and Catholic enthusiasts, women writers, women rioters. This first volume ends in 1800 with the French Revolution.
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'The Prospect Before Her' is a landmark in the writing of the history of women. In a work of tremendous intellectual and geographic range, and of marked humanity, Olwen Hufton distills the work of three decades to present not only a magnificent work of synthesis, but a truly original contribution to, and advancement of, our understanding of past lives – those of men as well as those of women. Few historians write with such mastery, ease and illumination about how men or women gained their livelihoods in the pre-industrial ear. 'The Prospect Before Her' takes us from the end of medieval Europe to the dawn of the modern age, laying before us a rich panorama of the past across the whole of Western Europe. It is already established as one of the most significant history books of the decade.
"This one of the most important works of history to be published since the Second World War. Its scholarship, breadth, balance and unfailing humanity mark the coming of age of women's history in Europe… quite magnificent."
LINDA COLLEY, 'Observer'.
Every now and again a truly spell-binding book crosses the path of the reviewer, testing the average store of hyperbole to the limit. Such a work is Olwen Hufton's 'The Prospect Before Her'… A sense of the absurd and a celebration of basic humanity threads through it. It is beautifully written and produced, a joy to read."
MARIANNE ELLIOTT, 'Independent on Sunday'.
"Hufton's book wipes clear the murky pane of glass through which we have been accustomed to gaze upon the past and shows us women going about their daily tasks in unprecedented detail. It is a brilliant riposte to the question about what form an alternative history might take: nothing less than her-story triumphantly rescued from oblivion."
JOAN SMITH, 'Financial Times'.
"'The Prospect Before Her' is one of those rare finds – beautifully written, fascinating, accessible, and a great work of scholarship into the bargain… history painted on a broad, bold canvas."
CATHERINE BLYTH, 'Evening Standard'.
"Olwen Hufton's people are so real you can practically smell them… In fact, this book is the closest any historian has come to a balanced history of people in Western Europe during the 300 years from 1500 to 1800."
AMY LOUIS ERICKSON, 'Spectator'.
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Book Description FontanaPress, 1997. Paperback. Book Condition: New. book. Bookseller Inventory # 0006863515