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Women at the Early Modern Swedish Court

Power, Risk, and Opportunity

Fabian Persson

340 pages
Amsterdam University Press
What was possible for a woman to achieve at an early modern court? By analysing the experiences of a wide range of women at the court of Sweden, this book demonstrates the opportunities open to women who served at, and interacted with, the court; the complexities of women's agency in a court society; and, ultimately, the precariousness of power. In doing so, it provides an institutional context to women's lives at court, charting the full extent of the rewards that they might obtain, alongside the social and institutional constrictions that they faced. Its longue durée approach, moreover, clarifies how certain periods, such as that of the queens regnant, brought new possibilities. Based on an extensive array of Swedish and international primary sources, including correspondence, financial records and diplomatic reports, it also takes into account the materialities used to create hierarchies and ceremonies, such as physical structures and spaces within the court. Comprehensive in its scope, the book is divided into three parts, which focus respectively on outsiders at court, insiders, and members of the royal family.
Author Bio
Fabian Persson is a Lecturer in History at Linnaeus University in Sweden and currently a Visiting Scholar at the University of Oxford. He is a specialist on the history of the early modern court and also writes on patronage, corruption, élites, aristocratic marriage and duelling.