Marriage And Violence Frances Dolan Analysis

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Dolan, Frances. Marriage and Violence: The Early Modern Legacy. Philadelphia, PA: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2008.

Historians, for a large part of recent years, look for support and readings from interdisciplinary work. Frances Dolan, an English professor, answers this search in her Marriage and Violence: The Early Modern Legacy. Writing as historian, Dolan’s work reads like a proper historical study, complete with endnotes, however, her argument stretches farther than any trained historian would write. Dolan’s presentation seeks to demonstrate the conflicting nature of marriage, which currently finds limits due to economics of scarcity and the types of questions the early modern period left for the current generations in regards to the practice. Confusing to explain and read, Dolan makes several good points, but often comes across as on an offensive towards the practice. In her lengthy introduction and first chapter, Dolan declares straightforwardly her purpose and manner of writing. She seeks to write using
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It addresses these early modern constructs of marriage, the period’s literature on marriage, and applies it to the lives of Anne Boleyn and Elizabeth I. Her bias as an English professor shines through her applause of Philippa Gregory and other historical novelist for daring to pinpoint the modern fascination with those so like them and use it. She argues, the Tudor period excels in this type of writing, because they are closest to modern women who must function as a composite creature. (150-151). The take on Anne’s life in Dolan’s concept of marital scarcity reads refreshingly, but also seems a bit odd as it seems like other historical works in which Anne is written as a modern woman stuck in the wrong time, not a product of her own time. However, she did state her intent in doing so – and repeatedly reminds the reader of

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