and Anne of Cleves
Retha M. Warnicke
Recapturing the history of Englishwomen is difficult, for the great majority of them can only be glimpsed briefly in court records; other official documents, such as wills; parish registers; or the letters of their male relatives. It is only from the late sixteenth century that some women's diaries and journals have survived. Despite this limited and inadequate evidence, a great interest emerged among professional historians in the 1970s in researching the lives of medieval as well as modern Englishwomen. It took another decade before historians turned seriously to studying the lives of early modern Englishwomen, essentially those who lived from the sixteenth to the eighteenth centuries. In their 1998 study of early modern Englishwomen, Sara Mendelson and Patricia Crawford referred to the neglect of this period as the "Dark Ages of women's history." 1
The findings of Mendelson and Crawford have contributed significantly to the history of elite women and even to that of poor women, although there is far less direct evidence for the latter, most of whom were illiterate. All women, regardless of their social rank in this hierarchical society, shared common life experiences, partly because the fundamental structure of society - politically, socially, economically, and culturally - was based on a clear division between the sexes. Women were considered the inferior sex, were deemed more lecherous than men, and were expected to accept subordination to a patriarchal authority: a father,
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Publication information: Book title: Writing Biography: Historians & Their Craft. Contributors: Lloyd E. Ambrosius - Editor. Publisher: University of Nebraska Press. Place of publication: Lincoln, NE. Publication year: 2004. Page number: Not available.
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