Women in Late Medieval and Reformation Europe 1200-1550

Written by Helen M. Jewell
Review by Ann Oughton

This concise and comprehensive study of women’s lives and society’s expectation of them covers every aspect of women’s life in the high Middle Ages; how the late medieval reformation world fitted together and how women fitted into that world. Women’s place in the family and society was determined largely by gender, the rules made by men and the overweening influence of the church. Boccaccio, Chaucer, Petrarch and others, in portraying women in literature, reflected the attitudes of the time as well as helping to reinforce those same attitudes. Nevertheless, many strong women stood out from the crowd, Margery Kempe, Joan of Arc, Blanche of Navarre, Margaret of Denmark and many more.

Lucidly written, this gem of a book is packed with information and sources for further reading. It is an invaluable research tool for any student of women’s history as well as being of interest to the general reader.