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City Women is a major new study of the lives of ordinary women in early modern London. Drawing on thousands of pages of Londoners' depositions for the consistory court, it focuses on the challenges that preoccupied London women as they strove for survival and preferment in the burgeoning metropolis. Balancing new demographic data with vivid case studies, it explores the advantages and dangers that the city had to offer, from women's first arrival to London as migrant maidservants, through the vicissitudes of marriage, widowhood, and old age.
In early modern London, women's opportu In early modern London, women's opportunities were tightly restricted. Nonetheless, before , the city's unique demographic circumstances provided unusual scope for marital advancement, and both maids and widows were quick to take advantage of this. Similarly, moments of opportunity emerged when the powerful sexual anxieties that associated women's speech and mobility with loose behavior came into conflict with even more powerful anxieties about the economic stability of households and communities.
As neighbors and magistrates sought to reconcile their competing priorities in cases of illegitimate pregnancy, marital disputes, working wives, remarrying widows, and more, women were able to exploit the resulting uncertainty to pursue their own ends. By paying close attention to the aspirations and preoccupations of London women themselves, their daily struggles, small triumphs, and domestic tragedies, this study provides a valuable new perspective on the importance of early modern women's efforts in the growing capital, and on the nature of early modern English society as a whole.
Keywords: early modern London , women , migration , courtship , marriage , neighborhood , women's work , widowhood , remarriage , patriarchy. Forgot password? Don't have an account? All Rights Reserved. OSO version 0. University Press Scholarship Online.
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