Introduction to winners or losers? Single women in history 1000–2000 (special issue of Women's History Review)
Holden, K. , Hannam, J. and Froide, A. (2008) Introduction to winners or losers? Single women in history 1000–2000 (special issue of Women's History Review). Women's History Review, 17 (3). pp. 313-326. ISSN 0961-2025
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Publisher's URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/09612020801924084
This article is an introduction to a special issue on the history of single women based on papers given at conference held in June 2006 at the University of the West of England, entitled ‘Single Women in History 1000–2000’. The analysis is based on original research by the authors presented in papers at the conference. The article interrogates the range of meanings that have coalesced around the single woman and links these meanings to single women’s lived experience. Its main aim is to show how in Western Europe and North America, albeit in different ways, at different times and among different social groupings, singleness has been constructed around the twin poles of gender and marriage. Popular beliefs that wifehood signified success and spinsterhood loss, and that bachelors held the winning cards are held up to scrutiny and shown not to bet borne out by the historical record. In this way both the introduction and the collection as a whole cast light on the ways in which these categories have been cons
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