This volume provides an overview of the issues and complexities that informed marriage in the premodern West. The essays provide a series of interdisciplinary and multicultural analyses of an institution that was fundamental across societies and cultures, but manifested in diverse practices and beliefs. Focusing, in particular, on the Italian peninsula, the articles move outward to include the distant worlds of England and Scotland. Studies of endogamy and exogamy reveal how complex marriage strategies functioned, often in contrast to their intended goals. The articles move from the highest reaches of society, royalty and papacy, to burghers and town dwellers. The richness of sources for the premodern world is explored including legal records, letters, paintings, and literature. Together the articles provide a window onto marriage as a social institution and as a lived experience, at once profoundly other yet curiously familiar.
Jacqueline Murray is Professor of History and Direct of First-Year Seminars. She joined the University of Guelph in 2001 as Dean of the College of Arts. She is a medieval historian specializing in sex and gender and marriage and family in premodern Europe.
Book title: Marriage in Premodern Europe: Italy and Beyond