I'm starting to run out of ways to title these posts. Anyway, the final Book in last month's ordering/buying spree arrived this morning.
The Oxford Handbook of Women and Gender in Medieval Europe
Ed. Judith M. Bennett and Ruth Mazo Karras
Oxford University Press
Copyright 2013 (reprint 2016)
The amazon.com product description:
The Oxford Handbook of Women and Gender in Medieval Europe provides a comprehensive overview of the gender rules encountered in Europe in the period between approximately 500 and 1500 C.E. The essays collected in this volume speak to interpretative challenges common to all fields of women's and gender history - that is, how best to uncover the experiences of ordinary people from archives formed mainly by and about elite males, and how to combine social histories of lived experiences with cultural histories of gendered discourses and identities. The collection focuses on Western Europe in the Middle Ages but offers some consideration of medieval Islam and Byzantium.With all of the other history books I've bought recently, I don't know when I'm going to have a chance to really get into this one, but it's one I really wanted to add to my collection. I'm hoping it will start to fill some gaps in my collection - which is fairly heavily focused on the U.K. and on the Crusades (for which interest I thank a couple of really good teachers I've had, and also my interest in historical fiction). Many of the remaining books are former textbooks I've kept since my university student days. Still, it's time to branch out a bit, and this is a start.
The Handbook is structured into seven sections: Christian, Jewish, and Muslim thought; law in theory and practice; domestic life and material culture; labour, land, and economy; bodies and sexualities; gender and holiness; and the interplay of continuity and change throughout the medieval period. It contains material from some of the foremost scholars in this field, and it not only serves as the major reference text in medieval and gender studies, but also provides an agenda for future new research.
I know I've had quite an interest in women's lives during the Medieval period - part of my interest in people's day-to-day lives. and that's the direction I've been taking my library to an extent.
Anyway, it's time to step back from my ever-growing bookshelves, and refocus on this book.
Looking at the table of contents, there are essays on: Women and Gender in Islamic traditions, Women and Laws in Early Medieval Europe, Slavery, Gender at the Medieval Millennium, Women and Gender in Canon Law, Urban Economies, Gender and Daily Life in Jewish Communities and so many more articles.
I have the feeling that I'm going to be wishing I'd bought the hardcover version and not the paperback - despite the fact that I can't really justify ether purchase with the number of unread books I already have.