Thursday, January 21, 2010

Women In The Middle Ages - Frances And Joseph Gies

Women In The Middle Ages
Frances And Joseph Gies
Harper Perennial

I must note that this book came out over thirty years ago, so the information in Women In The Middle Ages may well have been contradicted since. With that caveat in mind, I have to say that Frances and Joseph Gies write interesting, informative and readable books.

The core aspect of this book is the series of chapters which consist of biographies of women from various times covered in the Middle Ages: Blanche of Castile, Hildegard von Bingen and Alice Beynt, just to name three of the women covered. There's also the Paston family (about which these two have written an entire book) and several others from England, Italy and the rest of Europe

That's one of the things I liked about this book. It's not limited to just one region or time period, (as in Life In A Medieval Village). On the other hand, I'm more interested in the era of the Crusades, the eleventh through early thirteenth centuries, so the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, which seem to have made up at least half of the book were a bit later than my true interest.

There's discussions of:
  • family life
  • literacy
  • marriage and dowry considerations, also the marriage ceremony
  • politics and law as they concerned women
  • women and their role in medieval guilds
  • how women's roles changed through the centuries

Women in the Middle Ages also contains the proper endnotes and bibliography, which might well be one of the most useful parts of the book. Certainly it makes for a useful introduction to the study of medieval women.


Emma Michaels said...

This sounds so interesting I will have to check it out!

Unknown said...

It was. I just wish they'd go into more detail than they do.

Thanks for stopping by.

Jules said...

This sounds interesting, and it might be useful for some of the challenges I'm participating in.

Steven Till said...

I have some of their other books: Life in a Medieval City, Life in a Medieval Castle, and Life in a Medieval Village. I liked all of them. Their style of writing is much more engaging than other medieval historical books I've read. They 're good at re-creating the medieval setting and making it come alive. I'd recommend all of the three above. I haven't read Women in the Middle Ages yet.

Unknown said...

Thanks for dropping in with a comment, Jules. Can I ask which challenges you're talking about? I'm always interested in something on medieval history.

Steven, that's one of the things I like about their books. They are engaging, and don't read like a textbook all the time. I've got the other books you mentioned as well. Some of them are on my to read list. Thanks for stopping in.

Jules said...

I was thinking that it would be useful for both the Tournament of Reading Challenge, which is dedicated to medieval books from history to literature. Here's the link if your interested

Also it would be useful for the women unbound challenge.

Unknown said...

Thanks for the link Jules. I've just joined up with that challenge too.

Holly said...

This sounds right up my alley. I've never heard of France & Joseph Gies before. I love when I find new (to me anyway) authors.

Unknown said...

I love that too. Thanks for dropping in Holly.


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