The first academic study in English specifically to address the subject of women in the middle ages is reckoned to have been Georgiana Hill's Women in English Life from Medieval to Modern Times. The first historians of medieval noblewomen were among the first generation of women academics. They were working on the margins of university life, and it is not surprising that some of them were drawn to study the marginal social life of their medieval predecessors. A characteristic of the current historiography of women is the study of the ability of medieval women to act within their world. The ability to be an independent actor is what most distinguishes a medieval from a modern woman. If women were capable of making their mark on medieval society by wit and native resource, then men too could exploit the complexities and ambiguities of their habitus.