Women's Roles in Eighteenth-Century Europe
by Jennine Hurl-Eamon
April 2010, 171pp, 6 1/8x9 1/4
1 volume, Greenwood

Hardcover: 978-0-313-37696-2
$67, £52, 59€, A92
eBook Available: 978-0-313-37697-9
Please contact your preferred eBook vendor for pricing.

Women’s lives in 18th-century Europe were not as predictable as one might expect. Freed Caribbean slave Rebecca Protten lived in Europe and Africa and held positions of spiritual authority over high-born, white women as a deaconess in the Pietist religious sect. Mary Lacy dressed as a man, enlisted in the British Navy, and became a successful shipwright, writing of her experiences in 1773.

This concise historical overview of the existing historiography of women from across eighteenth-century Europe covers women of all ages, married and single, rich and poor.

During the 18th century, the Enlightenment, the French Revolution, protoindustrialization, and colonial conquest made their marks on women’s lives in a variety of ways. Women’s Roles in Eighteenth-Century Europe examines women of all ages and social backgrounds as they experienced the major events of this tumultuous period of sweeping social and political change.

The book offers an inclusive portrayal of women from across Europe, surveying nations from Portugal to the Russian Empire, from Finland to Italy, including the often overlooked women of Eastern Europe. It depicts queens, an empress, noblewomen, peasants, and midwives. Separate chapters on family, work, politics, law, religion, arts and sciences, and war explore the varying contexts of the feminine experience, from the most intimate aspects of daily life to broad themes and conditions.


  • Illustrations
  • A selected bibliography
  • Chronology
Jennine Hurl-Eamon, PhD, is associate professor of history at Trent University, Peterborough, Canada. Hurl-Eamon is also author of Gender and Petty Violence in London, 1680-1720 and several articles in Labor History, the Journal of Social History, Eighteenth-Century Studies, the Journal of Family History, the Journal of Women's History, and the London Journal.


"While the 18th century was a time of great social and political upheavals in Europe, the lives of most women—poor women—were little affected by these changes. Nonetheless, suggests Hurl-Eamon (History, Trent University), the century saw the begins of important debates over the status of women, and some middle-class and upper class women were able to move outside of traditional women’s roles. In this book, the author looks at women across Europe and across classes, examining their lives in terms of their roles in family, work, politics, law, religion, arts and sciences, and war."—Reference & Research Book News, August 1, 2010
By clicking “Accept All Cookies”, you agree to the storing of cookies on your device to enhance site navigation, analyze site usage, and assist in our marketing efforts.
Accept All Cookies | Decline.