It was not unusual during the Renaissance for cooks to torture animals before slaughtering them in order to render the meat more tender, for women to use needlepoint to cover up their misconduct and prove their obedience, and for people to cover the walls of their own homes with graffiti.
Items and activities as familiar as mirrors, books, horses, everyday speech, money, laundry baskets, graffiti, embroidery, and food preparation look decidedly less familiar when seen through the eyes of Renaissance men and women. In Renaissance Culture and the Everyday, such scholars as Judith Brown, Frances Dolan, Richard Helgerson, Debora Shuger, Don Wayne, and Stephanie Jed illuminate the sometimes surprising issues at stake in just such common matters of everyday life during the Renaissance in England and on the Continent.
Organized around the categories of materiality, women, and transgression—and constantly crossing these categories—the book promotes and challenges readers' thinking of the everyday. While not ignoring the aristocratic, it foregrounds the common person, the marginal, and the domestic even as it presents the unusual details of their existence. What results is an expansive, variegated, and sometimes even contradictory vision in which the strange becomes not alien but a defining mark of everyday life.