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Untying the Knot

Untying the Knot
A Short History of Divorce


Part of Canto original series

  • Date Published: September 1991
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9780521423700

£ 20.99

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About the Authors
  • The rapid spread of divorce since the 1960s has dramatically affected family life in Western society. Extensive research has been devoted to this recent period of change, and yet the long-term history of divorce has remained surprisingly obscure. Roderick Phillips, author of the highly acclaimed magisterial history of divorce, Putting Asunder, has now abridged his fascinating and wide-ranging study for a general readership. Encompassing religious and secular attitudes to divorce, the evolution of divorce laws, and changing responses to marriage breakdown, Untying the Knot offers a highly readable and thought-provoking history of the phenomenon, placed illuminatingly against a variety of social, economic, political and cultural backgrounds.

    Reviews & endorsements

    'Roderick Phillips' new book is the first in the English language to attempt an overall view of the history of divorce in the West, from the Reformation to the present day, covering in some detail England, America and France. Putting Asunder is the result of a prodigious amount of research, and provides a clear, intelligent, scholarly, and dependable general account of the history of divorce.' Lawrence Stone, The New York Review of Books

    '... in its originality of concept and thoroughness of execution his book must be called an outstanding achievement'. Peter Laslett, The Times Literary Supplement

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    Product details

    • Date Published: September 1991
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9780521423700
    • length: 280 pages
    • dimensions: 216 x 132 x 21 mm
    • weight: 0.36kg
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. Catholics and protestants
    2. Seventeenth-century England and its American colonies
    3. Secularisation, enlightenment, and the French revolution
    4. Formal and informal divorce in early modern society
    5. The meaning and context of marriage breakdown
    6. The nineteenth century: liberalisation and reaction
    7. Divorce as a social issue, 1850–1914
    8. Twentieth century and the rise of mass divorce
    9. Explaining the rise of divorce, 1870–1990

  • Author

    Roderick Phillips, Brock University, Ontario

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