Nuns : A History of Convent Life 1450-1700

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Cloistered and inaccessible 'brides of Christ'? Or socially engaged women, active in the outside world to a degree impossible for their secular sisters? Nuns tells the fascinating stories of the women who have lived in religious communities since the dawn of the modern age - their ideals and achievements, frustrations and failures, and their attempts to reach out to the society around them. Drawing particularly on the nuns' own words, Silvia Evangelisti explores how they came to the cloister, how they responded to monastic discipline, and how they pursued their spiritual, intellectual, and missionary activities. The book looks not only at the individual stories of outstanding historical figures such as Teresa of Avila but also at the wider picture of convent life - what it symbolized to contemporaries, how it reflected and related to the world beyond the cloister, and what it means in the world today.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 312 pages
  • 162 x 234 x 24mm | 680.4g
  • Oxford University Press
  • Oxford, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 21 black and white halftones
  • 0192804359
  • 9780192804358
  • 1,129,690

Review quote

[This] books provides a meticulously researched background to our contemporary interest. This is an elegantly argued, highly readable history of women whose lives have, until recently, remained shrouded beneath fears and prejudices. Julie Wheelwright, The Independent (Extra) Nuns is a serious book by a serious thinker...Evangelisti is a conscientious historian with a wonderful subject...[a] meticulously researched history. Mary Wakefield, Daily Telegraph (Review) A rich and direct insight into convent life. Judith Champ, The Tablet [An] important new book. Jonathan Wright, New Statesman [A] fascinating book...It is a powerful record and a fine contribution to the history of women. Joan Bakewell, Sunday Times This graphic, elegantly composed and often piognant study stands out in its attempt to weigh the positive and negative aspects of the convent experience. Olwen Hufton, BBC History A richly researched book... and one that constantly manages to surprise. The Times A radically different and intriguing picture. The Economist Nuns is a serious and readable study of convent life: it rescues from history the lives of women whom British and American feminists have tended to ignore because they have generally searched in secular places. Mary Kenny, Literary Review this is an elegantly argued, highly readable history of women whose lives have, until recently, remained shrouded beneath fears and prejudices. Julie Wainwright, The Monday Book, The Independent ...a highly readable text... S. Karly Kehoe, University of Guelph
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About Silvia Evangelisti

Silvia Evangelisti is Lecturer in Early Modern History in the School of History at the University of East Anglia. She has published widely on women and gender history in both English and Italian, looking especially at female religious life in the early modern period.
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Table of contents

Introduction ; 1. On Nuns and Nunneries ; 2. Cloistered Spaces ; 3. Voices from the Cloister ; 4. Theatre and Music ; 5. The Visual Arts ; 6. Expansions: Nuns across the Globe ; 7. Open Communities of Women
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Rating details

39 ratings
3.46 out of 5 stars
5 18% (7)
4 23% (9)
3 46% (18)
2 13% (5)
1 0% (0)
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