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Locating Privacy in Tudor London Oxford University Press USA Lena Cowen Orlin


31st December 2012 History Books 2 Comments

Locating Privacy in Tudor London asks new questions about where private life was lived in the early modern period, about where evidence of it has been preserved, and about how progressive and coherent its history can be said to have been. The Renaissance and the Reformation are generally taken to have produced significant advances in individuality, subjectivity, and interiority, especially among the elite, but this study of middling-sort culture shows privacy to have been an object of suspicion, of competing priorities, and of compulsory betrayals. The institutional archives of civic governance, livery companies, parish churches, and ecclesiastical courts reveal the degree to which society organized itself around principles of preventing privacy, as a condition of order. Also represented in the discussion are such material artifacts as domestic buildings and household furnishings, which were routinely experienced as collective and monitory agents rather than spheres of exclusivity and self-expression. In “everyday” life, it is argued, economic motivations were of more urgent concern than the political paradigms that have usually informed our understanding of the Renaissance. Locating Privacy pursues the case study of Alice Barnham (1523-1604), a previously unknown merchant-class woman, subject of one of the earliest family group paintings from England. Her story is touched by many of the changes-in social structure, religion, the built environment, the spread of literacy, and the history of privacy-that define the sixteenth century. The book is of interest to literary, social, cultural, and architectural historians, to historians of the Reformation and of London, and to historians of gender and women’s studies.

Locating Privacy in Tudor London ranges over boundaries, ground plans, surveys,…wills, inventories and the “great rebuilding” of England between 1570 and 1640…Orlin pursues her subject from many directions… Penelope Hunting, London Topographical Society This book is full of human stories which bring to life Tudor society in London and beyond. It illustrates with clarity how information was garnered for the prosecution of those suspected of treason, heresy, crime or immorality. Brian Buxton, The Tyndale Society Journal Oxford University Press have produced an impeccable volume, with copious and beautifully reproduced illustrations; in a period when careful editing seems to be going out of fashion, even notes at the bottom of the page are a matter for congratulation… this is a book which should attract a readership beyond its apparent scholarly specialization; it is well-written and brings the past to life. Ruth Morse, Times Literary Supplement Lena Cowen Orlin re-assesses the issue of privacy and concludes that far from this being the uncomplicated right of an ever-increasing number of individuals, it was a site of conflict and anxiety in Tudor England. With a mass of new primary evidence she carefully and scrupulously challenges received ideas about the ‘Great Rebuilding’, the nature of private space and the roles of men and women. The physical fabric of the world she examines, such as changes to domestic building, urban boundary disputes and even the role of peep-holes in the fittings of the interior, opens up new perspectives on these people’s lives. A huge range of historians, those of social politics, of architecture, of representation through painting, and of the urban environment, will be gripped by this book. Maurice Howard, Professor of Art History, University of Sussex Only very occasionally does a book appear that causes the reader to think about a historical period in a fresh new manner. Lena Cowen Orlin’s Locating Privacy is one such text. It is beautifully written and thoroughly researched. With the interlocking chapters that present in rich detail the life of Alice Barnham, wife of draper Francis Barnham and committed Protestant and London silkwoman in her own right, with brilliant discussions of physical space and notions of privacy in the political culture of early modern England, this is a book to be celebrated. By the end of her study, Orlin has found a way to inextricably tie her two themes together, enriching them both. Carole Levin, Willa Cather Professor of History, University of Nebraska Lena Orlin is one of our greatest Renaissance scholars. Her superb new book uses rich archival research to make us rethink our most fundamental assumptions about privacy, gender, and identity and to show us just how much we can know about those supposedly ‘hidden from history.’ Peter Stallybrass, Walter H. and Leonore C. Annenberg Professor in the Humanities, University of Pennsylvania In Locating Privacy, Lena Cowen Orlin has redefined our understanding of early modern material culture, telling a story not only about objects and spaces, but also about the people who lived with and within them. Moving easily among such diverse sources as paintings, peepholes, building plans and legal records, Orlin takes us beyond Aries, Hoskins and Girouard to re-claim privacy as a central arena through which social changes were resisted, accommodated and acknowledged. A triumph of interdisciplinary studies, this is a book that will be admired by historians, literary critics, art historians and scholars of gender. Cynthia Herrup, Professor of History and Law, University of Southern California

Lena Cowen Orlin is Presidential Research Professor of English at the University of Maryland Baltimore County, Executive Director of the Shakespeare Association of America, and former Executive Director of the Folger Institute at the Folger Shakespeare Library. She is the author of Private Matters and Public Culture in Post-Reformation England (1994) and Elizabethan Households: An Anthology (1995). Her edited collections include Center or Margin: Revisions of the English Renaissance in Honor of Leeds Barroll (2006), Shakespeare: An Oxford Guide (with Stanley Wells, 2003), and Material London, ca. 1600 (2000).

Locating Privacy in Tudor London ranges over boundaries, ground plans, surveys,…wills, inventories and the “great rebuilding” of England between 1570 and 1640…Orlin pursues her subject from many directions… Penelope Hunting, London Topographical Society This book is full of human stories which bring to life Tudor society in London and beyond. It illustrates with clarity how information was garnered for the prosecution of those suspected of treason, heresy, crime or immorality. Brian Buxton, The Tyndale Society Journal Oxford University Press have produced an impeccable volume, with copious and beautifully reproduced illustrations; in a period when careful editing seems to be going out of fashion, even notes at the bottom of the page are a matter for congratulation… this is a book which should attract a readership beyond its apparent scholarly specialization; it is well-written and brings the past to life. Ruth Morse, Times Literary Supplement Lena Cowen Orlin re-assesses the issue of privacy and concludes that far from this being the uncomplicated right of an ever-increasing number of individuals, it was a site of conflict and anxiety in Tudor England. With a mass of new primary evidence she carefully and scrupulously challenges received ideas about the ‘Great Rebuilding’, the nature of private space and the roles of men and women. The physical fabric of the world she examines, such as changes to domestic building, urban boundary disputes and even the role of peep-holes in the fittings of the interior, opens up new perspectives on these people’s lives. A huge range of historians, those of social politics, of architecture, of representation through painting, and of the urban environment, will be gripped by this book. Maurice Howard, Professor of Art History, University of Sussex Only very occasionally does a book appear that causes the reader to think about a historical period in a fresh new manner. Lena Cowen Orlin’s Locating Privacy is one such text. It is beautifully written and thoroughly researched. With the interlocking chapters that present in rich detail the life of Alice Barnham, wife of draper Francis Barnham and committed Protestant and London silkwoman in her own right, with brilliant discussions of physical space and notions of privacy in the political culture of early modern England, this is a book to be celebrated. By the end of her study, Orlin has found a way to inextricably tie her two themes together, enriching them both. Carole Levin, Willa Cather Professor of History, University of Nebraska Lena Orlin is one of our greatest Renaissance scholars. Her superb new book uses rich archival research to make us rethink our most fundamental assumptions about privacy, gender, and identity and to show us just how much we can know about those supposedly ‘hidden from history.’ Peter Stallybrass, Walter H. and Leonore C. Annenberg Professor in the Humanities, University of Pennsylvania In Locating Privacy, Lena Cowen Orlin has redefined our understanding of early modern material culture, telling a story not only about objects and spaces, but also about the people who lived with and within them. Moving easily among such diverse sources as paintings, peepholes, building plans and legal records, Orlin takes us beyond Aries, Hoskins and Girouard to re-claim privacy as a central arena through which social changes were resisted, accommodated and acknowledged. A triumph of interdisciplinary studies, this is a book that will be admired by historians, literary critics, art historians and scholars of gender. Cynthia Herrup, Professor of History and Law, University of Southern California

Locating Privacy in Tudor London










  • 2 responses to "Locating Privacy in Tudor London Oxford University Press USA Lena Cowen Orlin"

  • dan maurin
    3:14 on December 31st, 2012
    Reply to comment

    Peter Brears intersperses a thorough examination of Henry VIII’s kitchens at Hampton Court with recipes drawn from period sources.

    The palace kitchens at Hampton Court were a large-scale industrial enterprise that fed 600-1200 people every day – everyone from the lowliest servant to the King himself. The author does a grand job of describing how the system procured, stored, and prepared immense amounts of raw materials each day.

    Interspersed with the description are recipes drawn from contemporary sources that are similiar to what might have been served at the palace. The author also covers Tudor table manners, etiquette, and the ceremony involved in feeding the monarch.

  • true but...
    5:56 on January 1st, 2013
    Reply to comment

    Peter Brears’ All the King’s Cooks: The Tudor Kitchens of King Henry VIII at Hampton Court Palace is a fascinating read and an absolute must-have reference for anyone interested in Tudor-era foods and eating and/or in royal palace kitchen organization. The level of detail is astonishing and Brears writes with an intimacy of understanding that comes from both his background as a food historian and from his practical hands-on experience conducting cooking demonstrations in the actual preserved kitchens at Hampton Court Palace.

    Brears has also included an astonishing number of period and current-day illustrations that are invaluable in understanding how the kitchens were laid out, what they looked like, how the people who worked in them dressed, what their tools and utensils looked like, what table settings looked like, and what some of the food looked like once it had been prepared.

    Highly, highly recommended for anyone with an interest in historical cooking, dining routines and etiquette, and in how royal kitchens were organized to fulfill their vital functions.

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