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In a time before divorce was generally accepted and husbands assumed the right to beat their wives, Elizabeth Foyster examines the variety of ways in which men, women and children responded to marital violence. This issue raised central questions concerning the extent of men's authority over other family members, the limitations of women's property rights, and the problems of access to divorce and child custody. Although opinion about the legitimacy of marital violence continued to be divided, Foyster demonstrates that beliefs determinig intolerable or cruel behavior had changed significantly by the nineteenth century.Read more
- A groundbreaking study of marital violence from the Restoration to the first Divorce Act
- Provides a historical context for contemporary concerns about domestic abuse and family violence, divorce, and the impact of marital violence on children
- Essential reading for scholars and students in early modern and modern British history, family history, social history and gender studies
Reviews & endorsements
"This is the first book to examine seriously the history of marital violence in England over the nearly two-century period preceding ... [the] Victorian era. In admirably clear and organized prose ... Foyster has written an important book, both for historians and for Victorianists."
-Victorian StudiesSee more reviews
"In this well-structured, clearly written text, Elizabeth Foyster challenges some of the central arguments in histories of domestic violence...Using the rich documentation of marital violence in church and secular court records, supplemented by newspapers, government documents, and more private recordings in diaries and correspondence, Foyster presents convincing evidence of the need to rethink our assumptions about the impact of such things as the ideology of domesticity and increasing privatization on marital violence.... There is much here to contemplate."
-Marjorie Levine-Clark, University of Colorado at Denver, H-Law
"This book is not only well researched and structured, but also well defined."
-Gabriella Erdelyi, Institute of History, Hungarian Academy of Sciences
"One of the principal strengths of this new book is its chronological range...Rich in breadth, particularly having adopted such a broad chronological frame, this book in important ways questions received chronologies that have informed histories of violence and family life, and, by doing so, will no doubt renew and reinvigorate discussion of its central themes."
-Alexandra Shepard, American Historical Review
"...this book takes up an exceedingly intractable set of sources and issues, and, in the end, makes an important and brave contribution to our knowledge of marriage and family violence in the early modern period."
-Margaret R. Hunt, Canadian Journal of History
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- Date Published: September 2005
- format: Paperback
- isbn: 9780521619127
- length: 296 pages
- dimensions: 228 x 153 x 23 mm
- weight: 0.472kg
- availability: In stock
Table of Contents
1. Rethinking the histories of violence
2. Resisting violence
3. Children and marital violence
4. Beyond conjugal ties and spaces
5. The origins of professional responses.
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