Road to Divorce

Road to Divorce : England, 1530-1987

3.53 (15 ratings by Goodreads)
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This book tells, for the first time, the complex story of how, from the Reformation to the present day, English men and women have contrived to use, twist or defy the law in order to deal with marital breakdown. It is largely based on court records in which witnesses speak freely and frankly about their moral attitudes towards love, sex, adultery, marriage, and its collapse. Lawrence Stone traces the changes in moral attitudes and the political and religious forces which, before 1857, made England the only Protestant country with virtually no facillities for full divorce on the grounds of adultery, desertion, or cruelty; and he uncovers the means laity and lawyers evolved to deal with this stuation. The attitudes of any society to marriage and its breakdown throw vivid light on the most profound moral vaules of the age and its culture. Using a huge mass of transcribed legal testimonies of witnesses, taken from hitherto unexplored court records covering the period 1660-1860, the book offers astonishingly frank and intimate insights into the changing view of our ancestors about love, sex, adultery, marriage and marital breakdown. This book is intended for scholars and students of British history; social, cultural, legal, religious, and demographic history; women's studies; specialists in history of family and marriage; all those with specific interest in marriage, divorce, society and human more

Product details

  • Paperback | 485 pages
  • 129.54 x 193.04 x 30.48mm | 317.51g
  • Oxford University Press
  • Oxford Paperbacks
  • Oxford, United Kingdom
  • English
  • New edition
  • New edition
  • line figures
  • 0192853074
  • 9780192853073

About Lawrence Stone

About the Author Lawrence Stone is Dodge Professor of History, and Director of the Shelby Cullom Davis Center for Historical Studies at Princeton more

Review quote

"Offers a grand theoretical overview of changes in attitudes toward marriage and divorce during the course of four-and-a-half centuries....The gossipy tabloid quality of Stone's stories about couples is precisely what gives them their value as historical reconstructions of sex and romance seen through the eyes of their time....Few other historians have so successfully combined analytical and narrative approaches, and few works of history have offered such an intimate and detailed view of the social customs of early modern England."--Commonweal"Stimulating, instructive and filled with interesting and important questions."--Albionshow more

Review Text

This splendid and original study, by the leading English historian of family life, maps out the changing moral views of our ancestors over the past four centuries towards marriage and divorce. The text, largely based on court records, is full of entertaining human vignettes. (Kirkus UK)show more

Rating details

15 ratings
3.53 out of 5 stars
5 7% (1)
4 47% (7)
3 40% (6)
2 7% (1)
1 0% (0)
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