"Each of the essays is a meticulous study of a very particular aspect of family behavior or individual and community attitudes toward sexual practice. . . . The collection includes some real minor masterpieces."—Journal of Modern HistoryAnyone who is curious about the character of family life in the past will surely find much of interest in this book. Written by distinguished French and American historians, Family and Sexuality in French History contributes equally to the understanding of the French family in particular and to the study of the family in general. Changing patterns in marriage, sex roles and relations, the place of the family in popular culture, and family organization are all discussed.
Rather than studying the family in isolation, the authors consider the place of the nuclear family in the larger kinship network and examine the interactions between kinship and religious, educational, legal, and economic institutions. They explore how the life of the family takes into account individual and collective aspirations, values, and community pressures, as well as the economic and demographic realities. The authors bring these issues to life, using details from actual lives, often expressed in the words of the men and women themselves, as they tried to reconcile individual impulses and wishes with long-term kin-group strategies.
Robert Wheaton is former associate editor of the Journal of Family History and author of pioneering works on the history of the family in France.
Tamara K. Hareven is Unidel Professor of Family Studies and History at the University of Delaware, founder and coeditor of The History of the Family: An International Quarterly and founder and former editor of the Journal of Family History. Her books include Family Time and Industrial Time: The Relationship between the Family and Work in a New England Industrial Community and Amoskeag: Life and Work in an American Factory-City.