A Year in Books/Day 54: The Prospect Before Her

  • Title: The Prospect Before Her A History of Women in Western Europe Volume One 1500-1800
  • Author: Olwen Hufton
  • Year Published: 1995 (Alfred A. Knopf, Inc.)
  • Year Purchased: 2002-2004
  • Source: Edward R. Hamilton Bookseller Company
  • About: A lengthy, serious study of what girls could expect from their lives, from the cradle to the grave, between the years 1500-1800 in Western Europe. This isn’t the most well-made volume, and is falling apart at the binding, but the scholarship and writing are first-class.
  • Motivation: I’m a feminist. I dig history and women’s studies.
  • Times Read: 1
  • Random Excerpt/Page 91: “The women involved were drawn not from the city of Lyons, unless they were the master’s daughters, but from the mountainous villages of the Forez, Besse and Bugey and parts of the Dauphine. They were known as silk-maker’s servants because they lived in (often sleeping under the looms) and like domestic servants they were paid on an annual basis or when they left the employment of the master. Like servants they started in their early teens and expected to work for about fifteen years before having saved enough to embark on matrimony.”
  • Happiness Scale: 9

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