Framing American Divorce / Edition 1

Framing American Divorce / Edition 1

by Norma Basch
     
 

ISBN-10: 0520231961

ISBN-13: 9780520231962

Pub. Date: 08/24/2001

Publisher: University of California Press


Divorce has become one of the most widely discussed issues in America. In this innovative exploration of the phenomenon of divorce in American society, Norma Basch uses a variety of analytic perspectives to enrich our understanding of the meaning of divorce during the formative years of both the nation and its law, roughly 1770 to 1870. She provides a fascinating,…  See more details below

Overview


Divorce has become one of the most widely discussed issues in America. In this innovative exploration of the phenomenon of divorce in American society, Norma Basch uses a variety of analytic perspectives to enrich our understanding of the meaning of divorce during the formative years of both the nation and its law, roughly 1770 to 1870. She provides a fascinating, thoughtful look at divorce as a legal action, as an individual experience, and as a cultural symbol in its era of institutionalization and traces the powerful legacy of the first American divorce experiences for us today.

Using a unique methodology, Basch fragments her story into three discrete but chronologically overlapping perspectives. In Part I, "Rules," she analyzes the changing legal and legislative aspects of divorce and the public response to them. Part II, "Mediations," focuses on individual cases and presents a close-up analysis of the way ordinary women and men tested the law in the courts. And Part III, "Representations," charts the spiraling imagery of divorce through various fiction and non-fiction narratives that made their way into American popular culture during the nineteenth century.

The composite picture that emerges in Framing American Divorce is a vividly untidy one that exposes the gulf between legal and moral abstractions and everyday practices. Divorce, Basch argues, was always a focal point of conflict between the autonomy of women and the authority of men. Tracing the legal, social, and cultural experience of divorce allows Basch to provide a searching exploration of the limits of nineteenth-century ideals of domesticity, romantic love, and marriage, and their legacy for us today. She brings her findings up-to-date with a provocative discussion of the current debate over fault or no-fault divorce.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780520231962
Publisher:
University of California Press
Publication date:
08/24/2001
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
260
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.63(d)

Table of Contents

List of Illustrationsix
Acknowledgmentsxi
Prologue1
Part 1Rules13
1.Inaugurating the Rules, 1770-180019
2.Refining the Rules, 1800-1850s43
3.Contesting the Rules, 1850s-187068
Part 2Mediations95
4.When Women Go to Court99
5.When Men Go to Court121
Part 3Representations141
6.Divorce Stories147
Epilogue187
Notes193
Index227

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