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Family and Gender in Renaissance Italy, 1300–1600

$120.00 (P)

  • Date Published: March 2017
  • availability: In stock
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9781107008779

$ 120.00 (P)

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About the Authors
  • This book studies family life and gender broadly within Italy, not just one region or city, from the fourteenth through the seventeenth centuries. Paternal control of the household was paramount in Italian life at this time, with control of property and even marital choices and career paths laid out for children and carried out from beyond the grave by means of written testaments. However, the reality was always more complex than a simple reading of local laws and legal doctrines would seem to permit, especially when there were no sons to step forward as heirs. Family disputes provided an opening for legal ambiguities to redirect property and endow women with property and means of control. This book uses the decisions of lawyers and judges to examine family dynamics through the lens of law and legal disputes.

    • The comprehensive examination of the legal sense of family and household shows readers the complexity of marriage, marital property, and inheritance arrangements of this time
    • Offers a broad coverage of the role of families and gender in Italy as a whole, allowing for a degree of comparison across times and places
    • The lucid language and the absence of legal jargon makes the writing appealing for readers of all backgrounds
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'This book is a fascinating study of law as a living thing in Renaissance Italy. As Kuehn demonstrates with his characteristic mastery, the elaborate provisions of substantive law were inadequate to the complexities posed by real families. Family law, accordingly, was constantly made and remade by the jurists operating at the interface between doctrine and practice.' Daniel Lord Smail, Harvard University, Massachusetts

    'There is no better text for grasping the complicated dynamics of law, gender, and family life that shaped culture and social life in Renaissance Italy. Kuehn’s acute analysis and clear prose bring readers directly in to the most significant archival research, suggest fascinating research questions, and open lively conversation on current debates.' Nicholas Terpstra, University of Toronto

    'Innovative in its comparative approach, Kuehn’s study examines the intersection of law and family life in cities and towns during the Italian Renaissance. His impressive mastery of legal sources allow him to map the complexity of gender and family across three centuries. Scholars of the Renaissance, legal history, gender and the history of the family will find this work a critical point of departure for their studies and an invaluable synthesis of recent research.' Caroline Castiglione, Brown University, Rhode Island

    'Family and Gender in Renaissance Italy, 1300–1600 is a magisterial study of the relationship between law as well as medieval and Renaissance Italian society (family, gender, marriage, inheritance, religion) by the pre-eminent scholar in the field.' William P. Caferro, Vanderbilt University, Tennessee

    'Law was a ubiquitous dimension of life in medieval and early-modern Italy, not least in relation to private life: gender, family, household, marriage, patriarchy, and inheritance. Thomas Kuehn’s book offers a sure guide to this world. The fruit of a career dedicated to understanding both the common law and local statutory law, Family and Gender in Renaissance Italy, 1300–1600 is a virtuoso meditation on the early Italian family.' Lawrin Armstrong, University of Toronto, Canada

    'Kuehn (Clemson) bases this sociolegal study of Renaissance Italy on litigation documents and texts of the 'common law' (ius commune) of Continental Europe (whether Roman, canon, feudal, or local) regarding paternal power (over families, households, wives, and children), marriage, property transfer across generations, societal considerations of gender, and kinship or lineage. Kuehn’s use of printed consilia - the formal opinions written by lawyers acting as their clients’ advocates or as counsel for judges - provides the pioneering methodology for his interlocking inquiries. … While the densely textured discussion of consilia regarding inheritance provides the heart of the study, Kuehn subsequently illustrates how growing state paternalism, the increasing privileging of agnatic lineage, and reluctance by jurists and legislators to craft a reformed doctrinal order led to a legal stasis in family matters that lasted beyond the 16th century. A listing of important jurists, a glossary of legal terms, and a bibliographic essay complete the volume. … Recommended.' R. C. Figueira, CHOICE

    'Kuehn masterfully maps the complexity of law across three centuries. … Kuehn’s rich work is a masterclass in how to bring together a richly-illustrated multi-layered historical account from complex legal sources. The annotated bibliographies at the end of each chapter invite further exploration. This is a must-read for any student of gender and family in Renaissance Italy, as well as any student of legal history.' Liise Lehtsalu, European History Quarterly

    'Already the author of three books on law and social practice in Renaissance Florence, Thomas Kuehn now extends the scope of his work to cover Italy as a whole, including Southern Italy, on a comparative basis.' Christine Meek, Renaissance Quarterly

    'Few historians have treated the legal underpinnings of the social fabric so deftly and in such detail as Thomas Kuehn. Family and Gender in Renaissance Italy is a sweeping survey that consolidates the findings of the author’s earlier studies on emancipation, illegitimacy, heirs and creditors, and law, family, and women. … Kuehn’s major point is quite well taken: that neither the history of the family nor the history of law considered separately will provide a satisfactory understanding of the early modern social and political order. For that observation, developed cogently throughout, we are deeply in the author’s debt.' Philip Gavitt, The American Historical Review

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    Product details

    • Date Published: March 2017
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9781107008779
    • dimensions: 236 x 159 x 27 mm
    • weight: 0.68kg
    • availability: In stock
  • Table of Contents

    List of jurists
    Introduction. Families, culture, and law in Renaissance Italy, 1300–1600
    1. Family in law and culture
    2. Gender in law and culture
    3. Family life and the laws
    4. Household: marriage and married life
    5. Inheritance: intestacy
    6. Inheritance: testaments
    7. Paternalism: family and state
    8. Crisis of family and succession?

  • Author

    Thomas Kuehn, Clemson University, South Carolina
    Thomas Kuehn has a PhD from the University of Chicago, and has been teaching at Clemson University, South Carolina since 1981. He has published four books: Emancipation in Late Medieval Florence (1982), Law, Family, and Women (1991), Illegitimacy in Renaissance Florence (2002), and Heirs, Kin, and Creditors in Renaissance Florence (2008), which won the Marraro prize of the American Historical Association and was made possible by a National Endowment for the Humanities fellowship. Kuehn has also published over forty articles and book chapters.

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