Adulthood: Single Lives

Research output: Contribution to Book/ReportChapterpeer-review


This chapter focuses on the bodies of adult single people in early modern England, France, the Holy Roman Empire, Iberia and Italy, exploring their living arrangements in urban communities; their experiences while employed as servants; and their sexual relationships. More attention has been paid to single women than to single men in the period 1500-1750, so this chapter begins to address the imbalance in previous historiography by devoting particular attention to the masculine subcultures which journeymen and soldiers participated in. The chapter outlines how many single people inhabited different parts of Europe in the early modern period and explains how the everyday lives of such individuals were curtailed by legislation and institutional structures, but also includes discussions of how single people engaged in acts of self-fashioning, exercising varying degrees of choice about where to work and live as well as what to wear and who to have sex with.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationEarly Modern Bodies
Number of pages28
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 31 Oct 2023


  • single people
  • servants
  • dress
  • courtship
  • sex
  • journeymen
  • soldiers


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