Image and reality : the chapbook perspective on women in early modern Britain
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This thesis appraises the messages in the popular literature of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, the chapbooks, as those messages relate to the role of women during that period. The chapbook perspective on women in their relationship with their fathers, lovers, husbands, and children is examined, as is the chapbook outlook on married and single women and education, work, and leisure. The orientation of the religious chapbooks toward women's role in society also is examined. The thesis compares the literature's perspective on the role of women with the actual participation of women in society, as described by social historians. Conclusions are drawn about whether the pictures presented in the chapbooks are accurate or false images of the actual life of women in early modern Britain. It is determined that the chapbook authors reinforced existing gender distinctions and prejudices while generally ignoring both the changes underway in early modern Britain and the significant achievements of a minority of women. The source for the chapbooks used in this thesis is the Lauriston Castle collection in the National Library of Scotland.
Thesis, MPhil Master of Philosophy
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