Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Working Women, Literary LadiesThe Industrial Revolution and Female Aspiration$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

Sylvia J Cook

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780195327809

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2008

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195327809.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.oxfordscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2020. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 28 May 2020

Full Development or Self-Restraint

Full Development or Self-Restraint

Middle-Class Women and Working-Class Elevation

Chapter:
(p.188) 7 Full Development or Self-Restraint
Source:
Working Women, Literary Ladies
Author(s):

Sylvia Jenkins Cook (Contributor Webpage)

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195327809.003.0007

This chapter explores the later decades of the 19th century, when women's factory labor was no longer a novelty, and industrial and class tensions were becoming increasingly the focus of reforming writers. While working women continued to seek lives that satisfied the needs of body and spirit, middle-class women novelists and male fiction writers for the Knights of Labor offered them literary models of religious sublimation rather than the more secular salvation of intellectual culture. Educated and more affluent women, like Rebecca Harding Davis, Elizabeth Stuart Phelps, and Louisa May Alcott — who sympathized keenly with working women's material deprivation, and who struggled to vindicate their own creative ambitions — nevertheless recommended Christianity and its otherworldly rewards rather than the mental and artistic subjectivity they were themselves trying to assert. One notable exception to the consolations of religion was Marie Howland's utopian and communitarian novel, The Familistere (1874), which challenged not only religious piety as a female virtue but also conventional attitudes towards sexuality, capitalism, and private property. In doing so, she anticipated some of the more radical working-class attitudes of the generation of immigrant women who followed her.

Keywords:   women novelists, Christianity, Rebecca Harding Davis, Elizabeth Stuart Phelps, Louisa May Alcott, Marie Howland, Knights of Labor

Oxford Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs , and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us .