A History of Women in the West: Renaissance and Enlightenment paradoxes

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Georges Duby, Natalie Zemon Davis, Arlette Farge, Michelle Perrot, Pauline Schmitt Pantel
Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 1995 - Social Science - 608 pages
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In the words of the general editors, A History of Women seeks "to understand women's place in society, their condition, the roles they played and the powers they possessed, their silence, their speech, and their deeds. It is the variety of the representations of women--as gods, Madonnas, witches, and so on--that we hope to capture, in its permanence as well as its many transformations." Informed by the work of seventy-five distinguished historians, this five-volume series sets before us an engaging, panoramic chronicle that extends from antiquity to the present day. The inaugural volume brings women from the margins of ancient history into the fore. The authors' deft analysis offers fresh insight into more than twenty centuries of Greek and Roman history and encompasses a landscape that stretches from the North Sea to the Mediterranean and from the Pillars of Hercules to the banks of the Indus. In the minds of the ancients, the roles for which women were destined were silent ones: motherhood and homemaking, tasks relegated to obscurity by scribes who focused exclusively on the deeds of men. Even the census neglected women; in Rome, only heiresses were counted. But the dearth of information about women in official archives and the near absence of writing by women from this era stand in stark contrast to the astonishing profusion of texts and images created by men that are concerned with women and gender. The number of women's representations is astonishing. The authors draw upon sources ranging from gravestones to floor plans, from stele inscriptions to papyrus rolls, from vase paintings to Greek and Roman literary works, to illustrate how representations of women evolved during thisage. They journey into the minds of men--from the Greeks imagining their goddesses to the Church Fathers inventing the figure of the martyred female saint--and bring to light an imaginative history of women and of the relations between the sexes. The authors explore select aspects o

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Women Work and Family
z The Body Appearance and Sexuality
The Beautiful Woman

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About the author (1995)

Arlette Farge is Director of Research in Modern History at the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique in Paris. Her previous books include Fragile Lives (1993) and, with Jacques Revel, The Vanishing Children of Paris (1991). She is co-editor, with Natalie Zemon Davis, of volume 3 of A History of Women in the West (1993).

Michelle Perrot is Professor of Contemporary History at the Universite de Paris VII.

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