By Gillian Brown
Gillian Brown's ebook probes the foremost courting among family ideology and formulations of the self in nineteenth-century the US. Arguing that domesticity institutes gender, type, and racial differences that govern masculine in addition to female id, Brown brilliantly alters, for literary critics, feminists, and cultural historians, the severe standpoint from which nineteenth-century American literature and tradition were viewed.In this research of the family structure of individualism, Brown lines how the values of interiority, order, privateness, and enclosure linked to the yank domestic come to outline selfhood typically. by means of studying writings through Stowe, Hawthorne, Melville, Fern, and Gilman, and by way of studying different modern cultural modes--abolitionism, consumerism, structure, inside adorning, motherhood, mesmerism, hysteria, and agoraphobia--she reconfigures the parameters of either domesticity and the styles of self it models. Unfolding a representational heritage of the household, Brown's paintings deals extraordinary new readings of the literary texts in addition to of the cultural contexts that they embrace.
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Extra resources for Domestic individualism: imagining self in nineteenth-century America
5 Slavery disregards this opposition between the family at home and the exterior workplace. The distinction between work and family is eradicated in the slave, for whom there is no separation between economic and private status. When people themselves are "articles" subject to "mercantile dealings," when "the souls and Page 16 bodies of men" are "equivalent to money" (2: 317), women can no longer keep houses that provide a refuge from marketplace activities. Slavery, according to Uncle Tom's Cabin, undermines women's housework by bringing the confusion of the marketplace into the kitchen, the center of the family shelter.
3 What makes Dinah's imperious and "erratic" kitchen government incompatible with proper domestic economy is its reference to her desire rather than to a "systematic order" (1: 295-96). Dinah's kitchen runs by whim, its condition varying with her "irregular'' moods, which "reigned supreme" (1: 302, 296). " But even these occasional reformatory "clarin' up times" can achieve no better domestic order than Dinah's laziness produces; her diligent as well as her dilatory phases enact a capricious personal economy instead of the "systematic pattern" that is necessary to Ophelia's efficient domestic economy (1: 302, 303).
The mother writes the character of the future man; the sister bends the fibres that hereafter are the forest trees; the wife sways the heart whose energies may turn for good or evil the destinies of a nation" (Treatise, 13). Maternal influence travels with every individual, and in America, where individuals Page 21 moved often and extensively, socially and geographically, maternal power held sway over a limitless domain. Stowe includes the Southern states in the limitless domain of mothers and housekeepers, for "south as well as north, there are women who have an extraordinary talent for command, and tact in educating" (1: 295).
Domestic individualism: imagining self in nineteenth-century America by Gillian Brown