The chapters in this book explore the diversity of women’s work during the long eighteenth century, paying particular attention to questions of women’s economic agency, work identity, and, in the words of the editors, “the gendering of work and the workings of gender” (1). Collectively, the chapters amply demonstrate how women at all levels of society contributed to, and helped to shape, the economy. All of them are supported by tried and true, if not particularly innovative, methods of research in archives, examining notarial records, tax rolls, contracts, and the like.

This collection certainly encourages the conclusion that women were everywhere in the eighteenth-century French economy, far beyond the activities of traditional female occupations, despite the legal and cultural barriers that they faced. Restrictions of space preclude commenting on all of the contributions, but some more than others hew tightly to the collection’s central themes.

Rafe Blaufarb opens the volume...

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