Aristocratic Women Barbara Harris Summary

851 Words4 Pages
Barbara Harris in English Aristocratic Women, 1450-1550: Marriage and Family, Property and Careers explores the notion that “the responsibilities… that aristocratic women assumed and carried out as wives, mothers, and widows constituted female careers that had as much political and economic as domestic importance…” (5) Her key focus lies in understanding the contradiction between women’s actual lives and the deeply rooted patriarchal structures that defined their legal rights and material situation. (6) The argument then follows that this only appears available for study in aristocratic women’s lives in 1450-1550 for the large amount of documentations and homogeneity, which she studies at least 1,200 couples her to study at least 1,2000 couples.…show more content…
(14) She discusses the large differences between historians’ opinions on female agency, with scholars who examine all aspect of the woman’s lives, typically in biography, to show implicit or explicit power; on the other end, are historians who emphasize the intensity of female subordination and the narrow scope of women’s experiences. (14-15) Harris’ own ideas fall somewhere in between, as she sees kinship between females in the period as crucial and their positions as forms of careers built around a dominant male system – though they could not ever consider equality without male intercessor. Within a web of internally inconsistent institutions and practices, women took part in patronage and politics at high levels, and through their double-subjectivity in life, women’s history emerges as difficult to write.…show more content…
Harris’ biggest issues with the structure of patriarchy comes from common law, its doctrine of coverture, a primogenital inheritance system, the male entail, and arranged marriages. This chapter simply explores the definition of these terms and how they affect the women living with them. Trailing off with the addendum to a will, of Sir John Baker, the chapter neatly leads to the next with equating marriage for women to men’s service to the Crown. (26) Her next chapter Daughters - Wives in the Marking discusses the expectations set forth in Juan Luis Vives Instruction of a Christian Woman: chastity, honesty, shamefaced, sober, devout, and meek. (27) She follows this with more primary sources, from Henry VIII, Lady Lisle’s correspondence, a Sir Robert Lee, the Duke of Suffolk, and Heinrich Bullinger. Their lives began forming a working relationship with subordinate agency, in which they deferred to male relatives, yet not remain passive. Rather leaving that alone, Harris instead finishes the chapter with descriptions of parent’s involvement or absence in the home, as well as, young women’s educations. Relating to the end of the first chapter, Harris shows the manners in which women’s education largely set them up for advantageous

    More about Aristocratic Women Barbara Harris Summary

      Open Document