I'm writing an interdisciplinary book about lifestyles at Medieval strongholds in Östergötland province, Sweden. The central chapter "Activities and roles" is currently 8,900 words. Here are the section headers.
- Agriculture at arm's length
- Baking bread
- Animal husbandry and the eating of meat
- Hunting and the eating of game and wildfowl
- Fishing and the eating of fish
- Dining and drinking
- Waste disposal
- Relieving oneself
- Keeping warm
- Healthcare and personal grooming
- Fashion and jewellery
- Chivalry and horsemanship
- Love affairs
- Growing up
- Gambling and boardgames
- Taxation, customs collection, rent collection
- Trade and other coin use
- Keeping pets
- Crafts in perishable materials
- Fur production
That looks like a lot of material to cover in one chapter. If it gets too long, you might want to look at splitting it into business/leisure or some similar division.
Chapters needn't be of equal length. To me they're just a way to organise the contents thematically.
Are you working with any of the living history groups in Sweden? It seems like there are some pretty serious and competent groups there (and some which lean to the "dress-up-and-get-drunk-in-the-woods" end of the spectrum). I don't know if Sweden has any long-term experiments like Butser Ancient Farm.
I'm not, though I have many friends in the Society for Creative Anachronism. Occasionally I get questions about gear from reenactors.
The two points "waste disposal" and "relieving oneself" are probably related to why life expectancy was so short in medieval days. Plus, "malnutrition" and "medical science that made things worse".
Writing -a job for monks, and some very few of the aristocracy?
Yeah, literacy wasn't widespread and the only education you could get was through the church. There's one guy in sources from Stegeborg castle c. 1500 who is both chaplain and scribe, that is, secretary, to the fiefholder.
After seeing the film ”Jabberwocky” where Terry Gilliam used medieval sanitation for low comedy, my attitude to the past never recovered.
One orb to rule them all:
Slavery? Really? What do you/they mean by that?
Ancient slavery continued in Sweden until about 1330 when it was made illegal to keep slaves who had Christian parents. By that time pagans were in short supply.
Skarastadgan 1335 https://sv.wikipedia.org/wiki/Skara_stadga
Will this be an academic book, or is it intended for the general public?
In either case, do you expect it will eventually be available in English? (I speak/read zero Swedish and doubt my relatives would be willing to translate a book.)
It's an accessible academic book in English and I hope to distribute the PDF for free.