What is Gender History Now?



I begin at the beginning — the very beginning. Carr precedes his text with an epigram from Jane Austen’s Northanger Abbey. The quotation is from the novel’s heroine, Catherine Morland, who is responding to a challenge about why she does not read history: ‘I often think it odd that it should be so dull for a great deal of it must be invention.’1 Carr hopes of course to make the point that invention is the heart of the historian’s project. But I’m not the first person to point out that Catherine Morland wants to say something more.2 Here’s the sentence in its entirety. ‘The quarrels of popes and kings,’ says Miss Morland, ‘with wars or pestilences in every page; the men all so good for nothing, and hardly any women at all — it is very tiresome: and yet I often think it odd that it should be so dull for a great deal of it must be invention.’


Married Woman Female Labour Wage Work Nation Building Family Head 
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Notes and references

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© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited 2002

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