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The Merchant of Prato's Wife: Margherita Datini and Her World, 1360-1423Ann Crabb 2015
Margherita's often colorful comments demonstrate her attitudes toward her rather unhappy marriage and her inability to have children, along with other aspects of her life. Her letters reveal the pride she felt in carrying out her many responsibilities as a wife and, later, a widow: in scribal letter writing, in business, in household management, and in farming. Crabb emphasizes that the role of a wife was a recognized social position, beyond her individual relations with her husband, and provided opportunities beyond what restrictive laws or restrictive views of female honor would suggest. Further, Crabb considers Margherita's successful efforts, on her own initiative and in her late thirties, to learn to read and write at a literate level.
This book will be of interest to both scholars and general readers of women's history. In addition, historians of early modern Italy and, more generally, of early modern Europe will find this book valuable.