Description : Taking English culture as its representative sample, The Secret History of Domesticity asks how the modern notion of the public-private relation emerged in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Treating that relation as a crucial instance of the modern division of knowledge, Michael McKeon narrates its pre-history along with that of its essential component, domesticity. This narrative draws upon the entire spectrum of English people's experience. At the most "public" extreme are political developments like the formation of civil society over against the state, the rise of contractual thinking, and the devolution of absolutism from monarch to individual Subject. The middle range of experience takes in the influence of Protestant and scientific thought, the printed publication of the private, the conceptualization of virtual publics -- society, public opinion, the market -- and the capitalization of production, the decline of the domestic economy, and the increase in the sexual division of labor. The most "private" pole of experience involves the privatization of marriage, the family, and the household, and the complex entanglement of femininity, interiority, Subjectivity, and sexuality. McKeon accounts for how the relationship between public and private experience first became intelligible as a variable interaction of distinct modes of being -- not a static dichotomy, but a tool to think with. Richly illustrated with nearly 100 images, including paintings, engravings, woodcuts, and a representative selection of architectural floor plans for domestic interiors, this volume reads graphic forms to emphasize how susceptible the public-private relation was to concrete and spatial representation. McKeon is similarly attentive to how literary forms evoked a tangible sense of public-private relations -- among them figurative imagery, allegorical narration, parody, the author-character-reader dialectic, aesthetic distance, and free indirect discourse. He also finds a structural analogue for the emergence of the modern public-private relation in the conjunction of what contemporaries called the "secret history" and the domestic novel. A capacious and synthetic historical investigation, The Secret History of Domesticity exemplifies how the methods of literary interpretation and historical analysis can inform and enrich one another.
Description : The essays contained in this volume examine the particular religious experiences of women within a remarkably vibrant and formative era in British religious history. Scholars from the disciplines of history, literary studies and theology assess women's contributions to renewal, change and reform; and consider the ways in which women negotiated institutional and intellectual boundaries. The focus on women's various religious roles and responses helps us to understand better a world of religious commitment which was not separate from, but also not exclusively shaped by, the political, intellectual and ecclesiastical disputes of a clerical elite. As well as deepening our understanding of both popular and elite religious cultures in this period, and the links between them, the volume re-focuses scholarly approaches to the history of gender and especially the history of feminism by setting the British writers often characterised as 'early feminists' firmly in their theological and spiritual traditions.
Description : In Separated by Their Sex, Mary Beth Norton offers a bold genealogy that shows how gender came to determine the right of access to the Anglo-American public sphere by the middle of the eighteenth century. Earlier, high-status men and women alike had been recognized as appropriate political actors, as exemplified during and after Bacon’s Rebellion by the actions of—and reactions to—Lady Frances Berkeley, wife of Virginia’s governor. By contrast, when the first ordinary English women to claim a political voice directed group petitions to Parliament during the Civil War of the 1640s, men relentlessly criticized and parodied their efforts. Even so, as late as 1690, Anglo-American women’s political interests and opinions were publicly acknowledged. Norton traces the profound shift in attitudes toward women’s participation in public affairs to the age’s cultural arbiters, including John Dunton, editor of the Athenian Mercury, a popular 1690s periodical that promoted women’s links to husband, family, and household. Fittingly, Dunton was the first author known to apply the word "private" to women and their domestic lives. Subsequently, the immensely influential authors Richard Steele and Joseph Addison (in the Tatler and the Spectator) advanced the notion that women’s participation in politics—even in political dialogues—was absurd. They and many imitators on both sides of the Atlantic argued that women should confine themselves to home and family, a position that American women themselves had adopted by the 1760s. Colonial women incorporated the novel ideas into their self-conceptions; during such "private" activities as sitting around a table drinking tea, they worked to define their own lives. On the cusp of the American Revolution, Norton concludes, a newly gendered public-private division was firmly in place.
Description : The idea that 'home' is a special place, a separate place, a place where we can be our true selves, is so obvious to us today that we barely pause to think about it. But, as Judith Flanders shows in this revealing book, 'home' is a relatively new concept. When in 1900 Dorothy assured the citizens of Oz that 'There is no place like home', she was expressing a view that was a culmination of 300 years of economic, physical and emotional change. In The Making of Home, Flanders traces the evolution of the house across northern Europe and America from the sixteenth to the early twentieth century, and paints a striking picture of how the homes we know today differ from homes through history. The transformation of houses into homes, she argues, was not a private matter, but an essential ingredient in the rise of capitalism and the birth of the Industrial Revolution. Without 'home', the modern world as we know it would not exist, and as Flanders charts the development of ordinary household objects - from cutlery, chairs and curtains, to fitted kitchens, plumbing and windows - she also peels back the myths that surround some of our most basic assumptions, including our entire notion of what it is that makes a family. As full of fascinating detail as her previous bestsellers, The Making of Home is also a book teeming with original and provocative ideas.
Description : Named a CHOICE Outstanding Academic Title for 2009 Romanticism and the Rise of English addresses a peculiar development in contemporary literary criticism: the disappearance of the history of the English language as a relevant topic. Elfenbein argues for a return not to older modes of criticism, but to questions about the relation between literature and language that have vanished from contemporary investigation. His book is an example of a kind of work that has often been called for but rarely realized—a social philology that takes seriously the formal and institutional forces shaping the production of English. This results not only in a history of English, but also in a recovery of major events shaping English studies as a coherent discipline. This book points to new directions in literary criticism by arguing for the need to reconceptualize authorial agency in light of a broadened understanding of linguistic history.
Description : The essays in Home Words explore the complexity of the idea of home through various theoretical lenses and groupings of texts. One focus of this collection is the relation between the discourses of nation, which often represent the nation as home, and the discourses of home in children’s literature, which variously picture home as a dwelling, family, town or region, psychological comfort, and a place to start from and return to. These essays consider the myriad ways in which discourses of home underwrite both children’s and national literatures. Home Words reconfigures the field of Canadian children’s literature as it is usually represented by setting the study of English- and French-language texts side by side, and by paying sustained attention to the diversity of work by Canadian writers for children, including both Aboriginal peoples and racialized Canadians. It builds on the literary histories, bibliographical essays, and biographical criticism that have dominated the scholarship to date and sets out to determine and establish new directions for the study of Canadian children’s literature.
Description : A man admits that, when drunk, he tried to have sex with an eighteen-year-old girl; she is arrested and denies they had intercourse, but finally begs God's forgiveness. Then she is publicly hanged alongside her attacker. These events took place in 1644, in Boston, where today they would be viewed with horror. How--and when--did such a complete transformation of our culture's attitudes toward sex occur? In The Origins of Sex, Faramerz Dabhoiwala provides a landmark history, one that will revolutionize our understanding of the origins of sexuality in modern Western culture. For millennia, sex had been strictly regulated by the Church, the state, and society, who vigorously and brutally attempted to punish any sex outside of marriage. But by 1800, everything had changed. Drawing on vast research--from canon law to court cases, from novels to pornography, not to mention the diaries and letters of people great and ordinary--Dabhoiwala shows how this dramatic change came about, tracing the interplay of intellectual trends, religious and cultural shifts, and politics and demographics. The Enlightenment led to the presumption that sex was a private matter; that morality could not be imposed; that men, not women, were the more lustful gender. Moreover, the rise of cities eroded community-based moral policing, and religious divisions undermined both church authority and fear of divine punishment. Sex became a central topic in poetry, drama, and fiction; diarists such as Samuel Pepys obsessed over it. In the 1700s, it became possible for a Church of Scotland leader to commend complete sexual liberty for both men and women. Arguing that the sexual revolution that really counted occurred long before the cultural movement of the 1960s, Dabhoiwala offers readers an engaging and wholly original look at the Western world's relationship to sex. Deeply researched and powerfully argued, The Origins of Sex is a major work of history.
Description : This Handbook brings together leading historians of the events surrounding the English revolution, exploring how the events of the revolution grew out of, and resonated, in the politics and interactions of the each of the Three Kingdoms - England, Scotland, and Ireland. It captures a shared British and Irish history, comparing the significance of events and outcomes across the Three Kingdoms. In doing so, the Handbook offers a broader context for the history of the Scottish Covenanters, the Irish Rising of 1641, and the government of Confederate Ireland, as well as the British and Irish perspective on the English civil wars, the English revolution, the Regicide, and Cromwellian period. The Oxford Handbook of the English Revolution explores the significance of these events on a much broader front than conventional studies. The events are approached not simply as political, economic, and social crises, but as challenges to the predominant forms of religious and political thought, social relations, and standard forms of cultural expression. The contributors provide up-to-date analysis of the political happenings, considering the structures of social and political life that shaped and were re-shaped by the crisis. The Handbook goes on to explore the long-term legacies of the crisis in the Three Kingdoms and their impact in a wider European context.
Description : Reconstructs the distinctive relationship between the house and masculinity in the eighteenth century; adds a missing piece to the history of the home, uncovering the hopes and fears men had for their homes and families. Reveals how the public identity of men has always depended, to a considerable extent, upon the roles they performed within doors.
Description : Could bad dreams that have troubled Helen since her childhood be a sickness of the mind, or are they a remembrance of evil coming to her from a tragedy in the deep past? This question comes to the fore when James, an archaeologist, arrives to excavate the site of a Roman villa next to her home, and quickly becomes involved in a relationship with Helen. Meanwhile the site quickly yields discoveries that support James' own controversial theory that seeks to rewrite the early history of England. The discoveries unleash turmoil for the couple and those around them. A painful rift divides James and Helen. The story becomes a quest to establish the truth as revealed by these discoveries in the face of a stifling academic and cultural establishment. The couple discover that this quest will call for sometimes humiliating personal sacrifices.