A History of Marriage: From Same Sex Unions to Private Vows and Common Law, the Surprising Diversity of a Tradition

Front Cover
Seven Stories Press, Jan 4, 2011 - Social Science - 464 pages
1 Review
What does the "tradition of marriage" really look like? In A History of Marriage, Elizabeth Abbott paints an often surprising picture of this most public, yet most intimate, institution. Ritual of romance, or social obligation? Eternal bliss, or cult of domesticity? Abbott reveals a complex tradition that includes same-sex unions, arranged marriages, dowries, self-marriages, and child brides. Marriage—in all its loving, unloving, decadent, and impoverished manifestations—is revealed here through Abbott's infectious curiosity.

What people are saying - Write a review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - DieFledermaus - LibraryThing

Elizabeth Abbott’s book The History of Marriage follows the institution from medieval times to the present. The main limitation she states upfront – she only looks at marriage in Western history. This ... Read full review


User Review  - Jane Doe - Kirkus

An engaging mishmash of general history and personal histories of marriage, by the Canadian author of A History of Celibacy (1999) and A History of Mistresses (2003).Pick any page from this study of ... Read full review


Part 1
Chapter 1
Chapter 2
Chapter 3
Chapter 4
Chapter 5
Chapter 10
Chapter 11
Chapter 12
Chapter 13
Chapter 14
Select Bibliography

Chapter 6
Chapter 7When Things Went Wrong
Part 2
Chapter 8
Chapter 9
About the Author
About the Publisher

Other editions - View all

Common terms and phrases

About the author (2011)

Born in Montreal in 1942, ELIZABETH ABBOTT is a writer, lecturer and historian whose interests range across women's issues, social justice, the humane treatment of animals, and the environment. She holds a doctorate from McGill University in 19th century history. With the 2010 publication of A History of Marriage, Abbott completed her trilogy about human relationships, which includes the previous titles A History of Celibacy and A History of Mistresses. Abbott is also the author of several books and articles on the culture and politics of Haiti. Sugar: A Bittersweet History, inspired by her Antiguan heritage, was short-listed for the 2009 Charles Taylor Prize for Literary Non-Fiction. Abbott has lived in Port-au-Prince, Haiti and now resides in Toronto.

From the Hardcover edition.

Bibliographic information