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Shopping for Pleasure: Women in the Making of London's West End
     

Shopping for Pleasure: Women in the Making of London's West End

by Erika Rappaport
 

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ISBN-10: 0691044767

ISBN-13: 9780691044767

Pub. Date: 08/20/2001

Publisher: Princeton University Press

In Shopping for Pleasure, Erika Rappaport reconstructs London's Victorian and Edwardian West End as an entertainment and retail center. In this neighborhood of stately homes, royal palaces, and spacious parks and squares, a dramatic transformation unfolded that ultimately changed the meaning of femininity and the lives of women, shaping their experience of

Overview

In Shopping for Pleasure, Erika Rappaport reconstructs London's Victorian and Edwardian West End as an entertainment and retail center. In this neighborhood of stately homes, royal palaces, and spacious parks and squares, a dramatic transformation unfolded that ultimately changed the meaning of femininity and the lives of women, shaping their experience of modernity. Rappaport illuminates the various forces of the period that encouraged and discouraged women's enjoyment of public life and particularly shows how shopping came to be seen as the quintessential leisure activity for middle- and upper-class women. Through extensive histories of department stores, women's magazines, clubs, teashops, restaurants, and the theater as interwoven sites of consumption, Shopping for Pleasure uncovers how a new female urban culture emerged before and after the turn of the twentieth century.

Moving beyond the question of whether shopping promoted or limited women's freedom, the author draws on diverse sources to explore how business practices, legal decisions, and cultural changes affected women in the market. In particular, she focuses on how and why stores presented themselves as pleasurable, secure places for the urban woman, in some cases defining themselves as instrumental to civic improvement and women's emancipation. Rappaport also considers such influences as merchandizing strategies, credit policies, changes in public transportation, feminism, and the financial balance of power within the home. Shopping for Pleasure is thus both a social and cultural history of the West End, but on a broader scale it reveals the essential interplay between the rise of consumer society, the birth of modern femininity, and the making of contemporary London.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780691044767
Publisher:
Princeton University Press
Publication date:
08/20/2001
Series:
Women's History/Cultural Studies Series
Edition description:
REPRINT
Pages:
344
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.20(h) x 0.90(d)

Table of Contents

LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS ix
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS xi
INTRODUCTION "To Walk Alone in London" 3
CHAPTER ONE "The Halls of Temptation": The Universal Provider and the Pleasures of Suburbia 16
"Young London": The Making of a Suburban Shopping Center 19
The Spectacular Universal Provider 27
"When Ladies Go 'Shopping'" 29
"Our Local Regent Street" 40
CHAPTER TW0 The Trials of Consumption: Marriage, Law, and Women's Credit 48
Credit: "The Shopkeeper's Temptation" 50
The Wife's Authority and Husbands Liability 55
Consumption on Trial 65
Ready Money, Married Women, and the Department Store 70
CHAPTER THREE "Resting Places for Women Wayfarers": Feminism and the Comforts of the Public Sphere 74
Pleasure in the Public Sphere 76
"Either Ladies Didn't Go Out or Ladies Didn't 'Go'" 79
Female Clubland 85
"A Social Ark for Shoppers" 93
"Shopland Is My Club" 101
CHAPTER FOUR Metropolitan Journeys: Shopping, Traveling, and Reading the West End 108
The Women's Press and Consumer Culture 111
"The Best Exhibition in This Modern Babylon" 115
"Ballade of an Omnibus" 122
"Madame's More Comprehensive Feminine Glance" 126
The Lady Guides' London 132
CHAPTER FIVE "A New Era of Shopping": An American Department Store in Edwardian London 142
"London's American Phase" 144
Selling Selfridge's 154
"A Time of Profit, Recreation, and Enjoyment" 159
"Man's Best Buying Center" 171
"British Shes Should Shop at British Stores" 172
CHAPTER SIX Acts of Consumption: Musical Comedy and the Desire of Exchange 178
"Going Up West" 178
Selling to the Modern Audience 180
"The Romance of a Shop Girl" 192
The Shopper's Character 203
Theater of Desire 206
Epilogue The Politics of Plate Glass 215
NOTES 223
Bibliography 281
INDEX 315

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