A History of Marriage

A History of Marriage Cover

A History of Marriage

From Same Sex Unions to Private Vows and Common Law, the Surprising Diversity of Tradition

By Elizabeth Abbott

Seven Stories Press, Hardcover, 9781609800888, 460pp.

Publication Date: April 5, 2011


What does the "tradition of marriage" really look like? In A History of Marriage, Elizabeth Abbott paints an often surprising picture of this most public, yet most intimate, institution. Ritual of romance, or social obligation? Eternal bliss, or cult of domesticity? Abbott reveals a complex tradition that includes same-sex unions, arranged marriages, dowries, self-marriages, and child brides. Marriage—in all its loving, unloving, decadent, and impoverished manifestations—is revealed here through Abbott's infectious curiosity.

About the Author
Born in Montreal in 1942, ELIZABETH ABBOTT is a writer, lecturer and historian whose interests range across women's issues, social justice, the humane treatment of animals, and the environment. She holds a doctorate from McGill University in 19th century history. With the 2010 publication of "A History of Marriage," Abbott completed her trilogy about human relationships, which includes the previous titles "A History of Celibacy" and "A History of Mistresses." Abbott is also the author of several books and articles on the culture and politics of Haiti. "Sugar: A Bittersweet History," inspired by her Antiguan heritage, was short-listed for the 2009 Charles Taylor Prize for Literary Non-Fiction. Abbott has lived in Port-au-Prince, Haiti and now resides in Toronto.