Framing the Family: Narrative and Representation in the Medieval and Early Modern Periods

By Rosalynn Voaden; Diane Wolfthal | Go to book overview

INTRODUCTION

Over the past few decades specialists in medieval and Early Modern Europe have recognized that the family is one of the most significant subjects for study. As early as 1954, Régine Pernoud asserted that “The whole of our history and of our civilization depends … on the family.”1 More recently, Frances and Joseph Gies concurred, noting that, “No element in social history is more pervasive than the family, the universal environment where human beings learn to eat, walk, and speak, and acquire their sense of identity and modes of behavior.”2

But what does the term “family” mean in the context of medieval and Early Modern Europe? One of the meanings of the Latin word familia is “house,” but its root derives from the Oscan famel, or “slave,” which suggests that the idea of family was initially property-based, and indicated the group of people who belonged to the head of the household, or paterfamilias.3 The medieval Italian term famiglia and its cognates, including the English word family, came to signify “household,” that is, those persons who lived under the same roof, whether biologically related or not. As late as 1694, the French famille was still defined as “all the persons who lived in the same house, under the same head.”4 Indeed, images of the family, such as Hans Holbein's drawing of Sir Thomas More's, often include the servant along with the husband, wife, and children (Figure 1 on p. 19). As David Gaunt has observed, this broad understanding of family was so pervasive that when the humanist Leon Battista Alberti wished to designate the nuclear family, that is, a set of parents and their children, he was forced to coin a new term, famigliola, or little family.5

1 Régine Pernoud, “La vie de famille du Moyen Âge à l'Ancien Régime,” in Renouveau des idées sur la famille, éd. Robert Prigent, Cahiers de l'Institut national d'études démographiques 18 (Paris: Presses Universitaires de France, 1954), 27.

2 Frances and Joseph Gies, Marriage and the Family in the Middle Ages (New York: Harper and Row, 1987), 3.

3 David Herlihy, Women, Family and Society in Medieval Europe: Historical Essays, 1978–1991 (Providence: Berghahn Books, 1995), 115.

4 Naomi Tadmor, “The Concept of the Household-Family in Eighteenth-Century England,” Past and Present 151 (1996): 111–40; eadem, “Family and Friend in Pamela,” Social History 14 (1989): 289–306.

5 David Gaunt, “Kinship: Thin Red Lines or Thick Blue Blood,” in The History of the European Family. Vol. I. Family Life in Early Modern Times 1500–1789, ed. David I. Kertzer and Marzio Barbagli (New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 2001), 259. For Leon Battista Alberti's I libri della famiglia (1433–1434), see idem, Opere volgari, ed. Cecil Grayson (Bari: Laterza, 1960), 1: 182.

-1-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this book

This book has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this book

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Framing the Family: Narrative and Representation in the Medieval and Early Modern Periods
Table of contents

Table of contents

Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen
/ 308

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.