'Three Women and a Goose make a Market': Representations of Market Women in Seventeenth-Century Popular Literature

Pennington, David
April 2010
Seventeenth Century;Spring2010, Vol. 25 Issue 1, p27
Academic Journal
Clergymen's prescriptions that wives should confine themselves to the home were hardly pragmatic for most households. Popular literature reveals both an anxious misogyny and a grudging acceptance of the necessity of female forcefulness in the household and market place. Loud, abusive and profligate wives populate popular ballads and city comedies, but so too do careful, frugal housewives who, all too often, had to reform their immoderate husbands. Authors of ballads and city comedies sometimes celebrated sharp, aggressive market women, for the survival of the household often depended on the acuity and assertiveness of women in the marketplace.


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