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Married Life in the Middle Ages, 900-1300$
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Elisabeth van Houts

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780198798897

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2019

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198798897.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 28 October 2021

Single Life

Single Life

(p.229) 8 Single Life
Married Life in the Middle Ages, 900-1300

Elisabeth van Houts

Oxford University Press

This chapter is devoted to the single life. First it contains a section devoted to the issue of consent: who gives consent for the entry into monastic life, parents or the child? This section is followed by a discussion on single women in monastic and lay environments. The final section is devoted to single men in lay and monastic environments. The majority of single men and women were held hostage by economic circumstances rather than their own agency or choice. The relatively small group of religious young men and women entered their future destination by a combination of parental choice and their own agency. The increase in texts charting the generational battle for consent should be seen firmly in the wider context of a demand for choice amongst young people, especially women.

Keywords:   single woman, single man, bachelor, spinster, monastic entry, child oblation, servant, célibat, homosexuality

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