Nature's Cruel Stepdames
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Women's lives in 17th-century England were largely confined to the domestic sphere, a preordained progression from maid to wife to widow. When women committed crimes, therefore, these were largely domestic, and met with widespread horror as a violation of the natural order of things. This study presents a selection of pamphlets of the period, revelling in the sensational crimes of such 'matchlesse monsters of the female sex', and revealing much about society's attitudes to women.