January 2, 2001
12 halftones
9.00 Inches (US)
6.00 Inches (US)
1.125 Pounds (US)
1.13 Pounds (US)
$62.00 USD, £46.00 GBP
v2.1 Reference

Working Women of Early Modern Venice

In this groundbreaking book, Monica Chojnacka argues that the women of early modern Venice occupied a more socially powerful space than traditionally believed. Rather than focusing exclusively on the women of noble or wealthy merchant families, Chojnacka explores the lives of women—unmarried, married, or widowed—who worked for a living and helped keep the city running through their labor, services, and products.

Among Chojnacka's surprising findings is the degree to which these working women exercised control over their own lives. Many headed households and even owned their own homes; when necessary, they also took in and supported other women of their families. Some were self-employed, while others had jobs outside the home. They often moved freely about the city to conduct business, and they took legal action in the courts on their own behalf. On a daily basis, Venetian women worked, traveled, and contested obstacles in ways that made the city their own.

About the Author

Monica Chojnacka is an assistant professor of history at the University of Georgia.


"A skillfully crafted, sparkling testament to these women [of Early Modern Venice]—and to their courage, determination, and dignity."—Robert A. Pierce, Sixteenth Century Journal

"Chojnacka's book is a powerful reminder that even after four decades of interest in reclaiming women's history, many fundamental aspects of women's lives are still in the initial stages of exploration . . . Working Women of Early Modern Venice provides researchers and students alike with a persuasive argument for the importance of a more nuanced view of women's activities in early modern Europe."—Caroline Castiglione, Journal of Interdisciplinary History

"Making imaginative use of Venice's extraordinary archival resources, Chojnacka has written a solid, engaging, and illuminating monograph."—Anne Jacobson Schutte, Journal of Modern History

"Many of us have been waiting for such a book. Monica Chojnacka's monograph Working Women of Early Modern Venice is a nuanced, multifaceted, and imaginative study . . . It is based on a wide array of archival sources, beautifully illustrated, and written in an engaging refreshing manner."—Jutta Sperling, Renaissance Quarterly

"[Monica Chojnacka] leaves her reader with a lively picture of the human relations at work in her subjects' lives . . . a sound and engaging descriptive study."—Dora Dumont, History: Reviews of New Books

"This is an important, pioneering study."—Thomas Kuehn, American Historical Review

"Until recently, in-depth studies of early modern Venetian women were few and far between . . . The past two years have seen a radical change in this literary profile, for in this short period a new body of work has appeared. Monica Chojnacka's Working Women of Early Modern Venice was one of the first of these new publications, and it remains the most courageous."—English Historical Review

"An engaging, readable work showing the strength of thorough archival research."—Deborah Simonton, Economic History Review

"Chojnacka succeeds in drawing for Venice a more nuanced portrait of popolane women's lives than we have yet had for any other Italian city."—Elizabeth Cohen, Histoire Sociale

"This small jewel of a book is an important addition to the literature about women in history and the history of Renaissance and post-Tridentine Italy."—Daryl M. Hafter, Labor History

"Working Women of Early Modern Venice is an excellent read, which offers a multifaceted picture of Venetian women in the late sixteenth and the early seventeenth centuries."—Silvia Evangelisti, Renaissance and Reformation

"Chojnacka's richly detailed book . . . recreates the particular sensual delight that is the Venetian urban experience, from the perspective of being part of 'a community of women' down in the sixteenth- and early-seventeenth-century streets."—Carole Collier Frick, H-Italy, H-Net Reviews

"The book's great strength undoubtedly lies in the data gathered here about the large numbers of women who did not belong to the small elite groups . . . It modestly but assertively asks us to review our opinions about gender and the Italian city, and about working women in early modern Europe."—Walter Simons, Journal of Social History

"Chojnacka has written a valuable study of women in early modern Venice, fresh with the kinds of unique data that can only come from the archives. She has managed to uncover significant patterns in the lives especially of popolane, women 'of the people,' beneath the stratum of the elite. This task Chojnacka has accomplished, offering as the product of her diligent archival research both intelligent analysis and insightful conclusions."—Margaret King, Brooklyn College, CUNY

9780801864858 : working-women-of-early-modern-venice-chojnacka
224 Pages
$62.00 USD

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