Family, Love, and Work in the Lives of Victorian Gentlewomen

Family, Love, and Work in the Lives of Victorian Gentlewomen

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Physically frail, badly educated girls, brought up to lead useless lives as idle gentlewomen, married to dominant husbands, and relegated to 'separate spheres' of life - these phrases have often been used to describe Victorian upper-middle-class women. M. Jeanne Peterson rejects such formulations and the received wisdom they embody in favour of a careful examination of Victorian ladies and their lives. Focusing on a network of urban professional families over three generations; this book examines the scope and quality of gentlewomen's education, their physical lives, their relationships to money, their experience of family illness and death, and their relationships to men (brother and friends as well as fathers and husbands).Peterson also examines the prominent place of work in the lives of these 'leisured' Victorian ladies, both single and married. Far from idle, the mothers, wives and daughters of Victorian clergymen, doctors, lawyers, university dons, and others were accomplished and productive members of society who made substantial public and private contributions to virtually every sphere of Victorian life. Peterson draws on private family papers and on published and archival sources in manuscript collections in London, Oxford, Cambridge, Glasgow, and Los Angeles. Her findings revise our understanding of women's relationships to their families and their work and call for a new view of the role of gender in the Victorian age.M. Jeanne Peterson is professor of History at Indiana University, Bloomington, and author of "The Medical Profession in Mid-Victorian London". Her articles on the women and men of the Victorian professions and middle classes have appeared in "Victorian Studies", "American Historical Review", and "Bulletin of the History of Medicine".show more

Product details

  • Paperback | 256 pages
  • 154.9 x 228.6 x 15.2mm | 408.24g
  • Indiana University Press
  • Bloomington, IN, United States
  • English
  • black & white illustrations
  • 0253205093
  • 9780253205094
  • 1,702,126

Table of contents

One - Backgrounds and Personalities; Two - Ladies Learning: The Education of Victorian Gentlewomen; Three - Sex, Friendship, and Love: Gentlewomen's Physical and Emotional Lives; Four - Other Facts of Family Life; Five - Gentlewomen at Work; Six - "Two Working Together for a Common End"; Conclusionshow more

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