SSEMW Awards 2015 (for books published in 2014)

Wendy Heller

Book Award

by Amanda E. Herbert.

New Haven: Yale University Press.

This well-researched and elegantly written book examine early modern women’s social networks. The author uses a surprising array of original source materials in a multidisciplinary manner, and these resources are subsequently processed utilizing a variety of methodological procedures.

This variety does not distract from the monograph’s coherence and editing.

The book’s concentration on women’s connections and friendships amid demanding social and physical conditions will appeal to feminist and same-sex historians.

Despite its evident relevance to other specialists in the field, the book is presented so simply and beautifully that undergraduate students may fully understand it.


Book Honorable Mention

The ‘Unruly Women’ of Early Modern Spain by Margaret E. Boyle.

This book was released in 2014 by UTP.

This innovative study focuses on early modern Spanish women’s prisons. The role of women in defining and using these spaces is established using historical archives and contemporary textual sources. Enjoyable to read, this well-researched text shows how historical information may be used to examine creative creations.

“Interpreting the Body in Early Modern Italy: Pregnancy, Abortion, and Adulthood,” by René Baernstein and John Christopoulos, Past and Present 223 (May 2014)

This well-written post dives into an unexpected or disavowed pregnancy in an elegant and interesting manner. In 1569, a thirteen-year-old convent boarder in Milan delivered birth.

The occurrence that prompted Baernstein and Christopoulos’ research was not exceptional. Baernstein and Christopoulos examine medical and societal methods to pregnancy detection to better comprehend a woman’s husband’s claim of sexual incapacity and the fetus’ personhood.

Unconsented “treatments” that induce stillbirth or infant mortality may expose pregnant mothers to criminal penalties. This episode explores subjects including human growth and the tensions between biological and socially mediated notions of the body.


Scholarly Edition: Josephine Roberts

Portrait of the Queen Mother: Politics, Panegyrics, Letters by Catherine de Médicis (Toronto: Centre for Reformation and Renaissance Studies, 2014)

Leah L. Chang and Katherine Kong present readers with a plethora of information about Catherine de Médicis’ identity throughout her lifetime using a variety of original sources.

Stories about Catherine, such as those of her ambassadors, are contradictory, providing an illuminating look at how a woman’s reputation and historical identity are constructed.

The editors selected from a large collection that included correspondence, diplomatic work, and the anti-Catherine book A Marvelous Discourse. Aside from the gorgeous color visuals, the volume is increased.

The materials in this collection are about Catherine’s mother, as the name implies. The editors have crafted a book that is both distinctive and full of essential information about parenting.

The translations’ descriptions of de Médicis’ position and deeds may surprise many readers, while the editors’ introduction gives a historical summary of de Médicis’ reclaiming of identity.

This collection covers topics such as French history, gender studies, political philosophy, and early modern religion. Catherine of Aragon’s participation in religious disputes is one of the most contentious and discussed in early modern history.



Lady Hester Pulter’s “The Unlucky Florinda” and “Hester Pulter’s Poems” (Toronto: Centre for Reformation and Renaissance Studies, 2014)

The full works of Hester Pulter are now available in one book, with updated text and accessible yet sophisticated commentary. Pulter’s vivid body of work comprises poetry (lyrics, political satire, elegy), emblems, and a romance.

Pulter’s writings will be taught alongside other well-known Civil War writers using Eardley’s rendition. The glossary is a collection of regularly used words and their meanings.

Every page of the book tells us how Pulter was both a reflection of and an outlier in her own social milieu Despite her isolation, she kept up with current political and scientific debates.


Outstanding Graduate Student Paper Award

Hermaphroditism and Castration in Jonson’s Volpone (University of Georgia).

“Grotesque Sex: Hermaphroditism and Castration” discusses the play’s cultural-historical backdrop and modern director interpretations. Mayo explores ancient and early modern views on eunuchs, castrati, and hermaphroditism, as well as contemporary medical and psychological ideas.

A stimulating conversation on the current performances of Valpone and the repercussions of changing the play to eliminate or enhance its hideous features is concluded. This demonstrates the importance of knowing early modern sexuality in early modern theatrical creation.

Projects are done with others’ aid

Cuckoldry, Impotence, and Adultery in Early Modern Europe (15th-17th century)

(Ashgate): 2014: Farnham/Burlington

Europe’s Cuckoldry, Impotence, and Adultery examine a subject that is frequently neglected. Early modern Europe’s concerns with potency (or lack thereof) influenced art, literature, drama, and science.

The ten essays in this gorgeously illustrated anthology prove that. That the research encompassed early modern medicine, humorous writings, Renaissance plays, religious and secular art, was impressive.

This pioneering study delves into early modern masculinity and the underlying mechanisms that underpin the “double standard.”


A joint effort deserving particular mention:

Gender and Song in Early Modern England (Farnham, UK, and Burlington, VT: Ashgate, 2014)

Gender and Song in Early Modern England presents a broad variety of viewpoints on a wide range of themes in the early modern era. The pieces in this collection will appeal to a wide spectrum of academics, notwithstanding their concentration on music and sound.

On stage, witches and madness, and the gendering of music in religious and instructional contexts are all explored in this book.

Digital scholarship uses new media and web-based projects.

Women Artists in the Medici Age Research Program, Sheila Barker.

This program’s Medici Archive Project focuses on early modern female artists. The Medici Archive’s superb search engine makes finding new early modern female painters’ archives a breeze.

The project also funds training programs and internships for emerging academics in the digital humanities. Members may profit from the translations and transcriptions of newly discovered publications.

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