This 2007 text was the first single volume in recent years to provide an overview and assessment of the most important research that has been published on the English family in the past three decades. Some of the most distinguished historians of family life, together with the next generation of historians working in the field, present previously unpublished archival research to shed light on family ideals and experiences in the early modern period. Contributions to this volume interrogate the definitions and meanings of the term 'family' in the past, showing how the family was a locus for power and authority, as well as personal or subjective identity, and exploring how expectations as well as realities of family behaviour could be shaped by ideas of childhood, youth, adulthood and old age. This pioneering collection of essays will appeal to scholars of early modern British history, social history, family history and gender studies.

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