Book Announcement, The Youth of Early Modern Women

Through fifteen essays that work from a rich array of primary sources, this collection makes the novel claim that early modern European women, like men, had a youth. European culture recognised that, between childhood and full adulthood, early modern women experienced distinctive physiological, social, and psychological transformations. Drawing on two mutually shaped layers of inquiry — cultural constructions of youth and lived experiences — these essays exploit a wide variety of sources, including literary and autobiographical works, conduct literature, judicial and asylum records, drawings, and material culture. The geographical and temporal ranges traverse England, Ireland, Italy, France, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Spain, and Mexico from the sixteenth to the eighteenth century. This volume brings fresh attention to representations of female youth, their own life writings, young women’s training for adulthood, courtship, and the emergent sexual lives of young unmarried women.

Elizabeth S. Cohen and Margaret Reeves

Part 1 Concepts and representations

1. ‘A Prospect of Flowers’: Concepts of Childhood and Female Youth in Seventeenth-Century British Culture
Margaret Reeves

2. A Roving Woman: The Rover, Part 1 and Hellena’s Self-Creation of Youth
Sarah Morris

3. ‘She is but a girl’: Talk of Young Women as Daughters, Wives, and Mothers in the Records of the English Consistory Courts, 1550-1650
Jennifer McNabb

4. Flight and Confinement: Female Youth, Agency, and Emotions in Sixteenth-Century New Spain
Jacqueline Holler

5. Harlots and Camp Followers: Swiss Renaissance Drawings of Young Women circa 1520
Christiane Andersson

Part 2 Self-representations: life-writing and letters

6. Three Sisters of Carmen: The Youths of Teresa de Jesús, María de San José, and Ana de San Bartolomé
Barbara Mujica

7. Elite English Girlhood in Early Modern Ireland: The Examples of Mary Boyle and Alice Wandesford
Julie A. Eckerle

8. Young Women Negotiating Fashion in Early Modern Florence
Megan Moran

9. ‘Is it possible that my sister . . . has had a baby?’: The Early Years of Marriage as a Transition from Girlhood to Womanhood in the Letters of Three Generations of Orange-Nassau Women
Jane Couchman

Part 3 Training for adulthood

10. Malleable Youth: Forging Female Education in Early Modern Rome
Alessandra Franco

11. The Material Culture of Female Youth in Bologna, 1550-1600
Michele Nicole Robinson

12. Becoming a Woman in the Dutch Republic: Advice Literature for Young Adult Women of the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries
Marja van Tilburg

Part 4 Courtship and becoming sexual

13. Straying and Led Astray: Roman Maids Become Young Women circa 1600
Elizabeth S. Cohen

14. A Room of Their Own: Young Women, Courtship, and the Night in Early Modern England
Eleanor Hubbard

15. In Search of a ‘remedy’: Young Women, Their Intimate Partners, and the Challenge of Fertility in Early Modern France
Julie Hardwick

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