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Daily Life in Early Modern Society

| Discussion topics | Documents | Reading |

Discussion topics and Essay questions

a) Rural society

  • Were the changes in agrarian society in this period to the advantage of landowners or of peasants?
  • Were social relations in the countryside characterised by conflict or co-operation?
  • In which ways did peasants 'matter' in early modern Europe?

b) Urban society

  • How were early modern towns governed?
  • Why did some towns flourish in this period while others stagnated?
  • In which ways was 'urban life' fundamentally different from 'rural life' in this period?

Supplementary discussion topics

c) Food and diet

  • What were the main changes in the diet of Europeans between 1500 and 1800?

  • What were the broader changes in European life—including economic, demographic, and cultural developments—that drove changes in the European diet in this period?

  • What effect did science and medicine have on the types of food that Europeans ate and the way they prepared them?


**NOTE: Some eresources are accessible only on-campus or via off-campus proxies or the athens service**





Rural Society

Urban Society

Food & Diet

  • The French Cook, written in French by Monsieur De La Varenne, and now Englished by J. D. G. (London, 1653) [A modern transcription of each page of the text is available by clicking on the 'Details' tab on the right and then selecting the 'Text' tab.]
  • John Murrell, A New Booke of Cookerie (London, 1617) [A modern transcription of each page of the text is available by clicking on the 'Details' tab on the right and then selecting the 'Text' tab.]

Rural Society

Urban Society

Food & Diet

Selected Key Texts

Further Reading

a) Rural Society
b) Urban Society
c) Food and Diet
  • Albala, Ken. Eating Right in the Renaissance (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2002) (ebook)
  • " , Food in Early Modern Europe (Westport, CN: Greenwood Press, 2003)
  • " , The Banquet: Dining in the Great Courts of Late Renaissance Europe (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2007)
  • Brears, Peter C. D., Stuart Cookery: Recipes and History (London: English Heritage, 2004)
  • " , Tudor Cookery: Recipes and History (London: English Heritage, 2003)
  • David Gentilcore, Food and Health in Early Modern Europe: Diet, Medicine and Society, 1450-1800 (2016) (ebook)
  • Beat Kümin, Fabio Parasecoli and Peter Scholliers (et al) (eds.), A Cultural History of Food in the Early Modern Age (Oxford, 2014)
  • Laudan, Rachel, Cuisine and Empire: Cooking in World History (Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 2013) (ebook)
  • Montanari, Massimo, The Culture of Food (Oxford: Blackwell, 1994)
  • Muldrew, Craig, Food, Energy and the Creation of Industriousness: Work and Material Culture in Agrarian England, 1550-1780 (Cambridge, 2011)
  • Spang, Rebecca L., The Invention of the Restaurant: Paris and Modern Gastronomic Culture (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2000)
  • Spary, Emma, Eating the Enlightenment: Food and the Sciences in Paris (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2012)
  • Strong, Roy, Feast: A History of Grand Eating (London: Pimlico, 2003)
  • Thirsk, Joan, Food in Early Modern England: Phases, Fads, Fashions 1500-1760 (London: Hambledon Continuum, 2007).

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