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Home :: Archive :: 2000 :: July ::
Female Birth-Order
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 11.1382  Tuesday, 11 July 2000.

From:           Frank Whigham <
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Date:           Monday, 10 Jul 2000 15:59:40 -0500
Subject:        Female Birth-Order

Working on the Leir source-play of 1594, I was reminded of the issue
present there obliquely of female birth-order and the expectation of
marital priority. Something similar is present in Shrew, of course.
Presumably the pattern operates as some kind of mirror of primogenitural
hierarchy, and it seems to become more entrenched in later times, as
Jane Austen and Anthony Powell suggest. But what was the situation in
early modern England? To what degree was this expectation something
approaching either a rule or norm, or (conversely) an issue of debate or
difficulty.

Frank Whigham
 

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