Unmarried women. The world: a corrupting influence? (from The institution of marriage) ; The cloister: a safe haven? (a. from On disdaining the world, b. The girl with no interest in marriage, c. The repentant girl) ; Marriage: the solution? (a. Courtship, b. The young married and the harlot, c. A letter of persuasion: In praise of marriage)
Wives. The institution of marriage (a. Choosing the right mate, b. Maintaining a harmonious relationship) ; Marriage: a counseling session ; A marriage in name only ; The new mother ; The well-read matron: the abbot and the learned lady ; The activist: the council of women.
Widows. From the Christian widow ; Berta Heyen: an obituary for a Christian widow.
Chronology of Erasmus' life.
"Although the texts in this collection are by a single author, they offer a kaleidoscope of views current in the Renaissance. Erasmus' comments on women range from ad hoc remarks in his letters to lengthy treatises on marriage and widowhood, from lively dialogues with a mixed cast of virgins and mothers, housewives and harlots, to a funeral oration for a matriarch. Because Erasmus appropriates a variety of voices, the texts offer a mixture of traditional and progressive thought."--Jacket.