Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Prospect Before Her: A History of Women in Western Europe, 1500 - 1800” as Want to Read:
The Prospect Before Her: A History of Women in Western Europe, 1500 - 1800
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Prospect Before Her: A History of Women in Western Europe, 1500 - 1800

4.25  ·  Rating Details  ·  67 Ratings  ·  7 Reviews
How did women in 16th century western Europe cope with the consequences of being considered inherently sinful--as well as being legally and economically subordinate to their fathers, husbands, brothers, and sons? What might become of a woman unable to raise a dowry? What were the difficulties faced by spinsters, single mothers, and widows? In this brilliant investigation i ...more
Paperback, 672 pages
Published February 24th 1998 by Vintage (first published October 19th 1995)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Prospect Before Her, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Prospect Before Her

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 247)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Mar 07, 2015 Diane rated it it was amazing
Shelves: history, favorites
This is one of my favorite history books. Olwen Hufton provides a detailed history of women's lives from 1500 to 1800. She takes a balanced approach to the subject - i.e., no "all men are pigs" or "things were so much better in the good old days!" The book covers how women planned for marriage, and found a husband, dealt with married life, children, and widowhood. Ms Hufton also tells of physical abuse, women accused of being witches, prostitution, nuns, female authors, and even female rioters. ...more
Jan 15, 2008 Emily rated it it was amazing
A wealth of information, beuatifully organized and easy to read and retain. I find myself coming back to this book again and again in conversations about women's lives and women's rights. What was most startling to me was the overarching sense that not much has changed for women between the Middle Ages and now. We are still tied to this life by our sex and reproductive role; and, that what truly determines our life path is as much a matter of the economy and the social standing of the family we ...more
Jul 07, 2011 Grace rated it really liked it
A really well written overview of a vast amount of material. It must be difficult to synthesise so much research but it didn't feel shallow and plenty of individual studies picked out alongside the generalisations.

Pretty depressing stuff though. Glad I wasn't alive between 1500 and 1800. Sounds like very hard work, with very few options and a lot of keeping quiet and putting up.
Jan 08, 2011 Jennie rated it it was amazing
Extremely interesting, especially the parts that discuss what people's daily lives consisted of and what they had to do to make a living. Because it's about women, you get more domestic (real-life) focus than history books that talk about Great Events. Occasionally maddening, of course.

It took me months to finish only because I had to take the fall semester off from reading it.
Feb 12, 2009 Margery rated it it was amazing
I read this book as research before designing Lucia di Lammermoor. It is a very readable history of women, I learned a lot. My design was greatly influenced by the themes expressed in this book. I plan to read the next book in the series at some point.
Aug 30, 2010 Gaile rated it it was amazing
Shelves: history
We women who live in this century in the free west are VERY lucky!
Dec 28, 2010 Mairi_k rated it it was amazing
Michela marked it as to-read
Apr 26, 2016
Andrzej K
Andrzej K marked it as to-read
Apr 25, 2016
Leofgyth marked it as to-read
Apr 03, 2016
Sidney marked it as to-read
Apr 02, 2016
Katy Robins
Katy Robins is currently reading it
Mar 28, 2016
Mary Pace
Mary Pace rated it it was amazing
Mar 24, 2016
Farzana rated it it was amazing
Mar 24, 2016
Morgan Dreiss
Morgan Dreiss marked it as to-read
Mar 24, 2016
Volvelle marked it as to-read
Mar 12, 2016
Mayte marked it as to-read
Mar 09, 2016
mary marked it as to-read
Feb 25, 2016
Georgina Coutroud
Georgina Coutroud marked it as to-read
Feb 24, 2016
Alexa Williams-Brown
Alexa Williams-Brown marked it as to-read
Feb 20, 2016
Byzantine marked it as to-read
Feb 18, 2016
Romy marked it as to-read
Feb 14, 2016
Ameya Warde
Ameya Warde marked it as to-read
Jan 30, 2016
Beverley Newman
Beverley Newman marked it as to-read
Jan 29, 2016
Sokolica marked it as to-read
Jan 29, 2016
Mona Dueck
Mona Dueck marked it as to-read
Feb 06, 2016
Kat marked it as to-read
Jan 25, 2016
Michelle rated it really liked it
Mar 17, 2016
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • A History of Their Own: Women in Europe from Prehistory to the Present Volume 1
  • Popular Culture in Early Modern Europe
  • The Order of Books: Readers, Authors, and Libraries in Europe Between the 14th and 18th Centuries
  • The Mediterranean and the Mediterranean World in the Age of Philip II, Volume 2
  • Holy Madness: Romantics, Patriots, and Revolutionaries, 1776-1871
  • The Gentleman's Daughter: Women's Lives in Georgian England
  • After the Victorians: The Decline of Britain in the World
  • The Civilization Of Europe In The Renaissance
  • Worldly Goods: A New History of the Renaissance
  • Education of the Senses: The Bourgeois Experience: Victoria to Freud
  • Daughters of Britannia: The Lives and Times of Diplomatic Wives
  • Good Wives, Nasty Wenches, and Anxious Patriarchs: Gender, Race, and Power in Colonial Virginia
  • The Habsburgs: Embodying Empire
  • The History of England
  • Nature's Engraver: A Life of Thomas Bewick
  • The Weaker Vessel
  • Hen Frigates
  • Idols of Perversity: Fantasies of Feminine Evil in Fin-de-Siècle Culture
Olwen Hufton DBE is one of the foremost historians of early modern Europe and a pioneer of social history and of women's history. She is an expert on Early Modern, western European comparative socio-cultural history with special emphasis on gender, poverty, social relations, religion and work. In 2006 she joined Royal Holloway as a part-time Professorial Research Fellow in the History Department.

More about Olwen H. Hufton...

Share This Book