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The English Marriage: Tales of Love, Money and Adultery Maureen Waller

The English Marriage: Tales of Love, Money and Adultery

Maureen Waller

Published
ISBN : 9780719522628
Paperback
432 pages
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 About the Book 

The story of the English marriage is unique and eccentric. Long after the rest of Europe and neighboring Scotland had reformed their marriage laws, England clung to the chaotic and contradictory laws of the medieval Church, making it all too easy toMoreThe story of the English marriage is unique and eccentric. Long after the rest of Europe and neighboring Scotland had reformed their marriage laws, England clung to the chaotic and contradictory laws of the medieval Church, making it all too easy to enter into a marriage but virtually impossible to end an unhappy one. If England was a paradise for wives it could only have been through the feistiness of the women. Married women were placed in the same legal category as lunatics. While Englishmen prided themselves on their devotion to liberty, their wives were no freer than slaves. It was a husband’s jealously guarded right to beat his wife, as long as the stick was no bigger than his thumb. With a cast of hundreds, from loyal and devoted wives in troubled times to those who featured in notorious trials for adultery, from abusive husbands whose excesses were only gradually curbed by the law to the modern phenomenon of the toxic wife, acclaimed historian Maureen Waller draws on intimate letters, diaries, court documents, and advice books to trace the evolution of the English marriage. It is social history at its most revealing, astonishing, and entertaining.