No Silent Witness: The Eliot Parsonage Women and Their Unitarian World [NOOK Book]

Overview

This group biography follows three generations of ministers' daughters and wives in a famed American Unitarian family. Shifting the focus from pulpit to parsonage, and from sermon to whispered secrets, Cynthia Tucker humanizes the Eliots and their religious tradition and lifts up a largely neglected female vocation. Spanning 150 years from the early 19th century forward, the narrative shapes itself into a series of stories. Each of six chapters takes up a different woman's defining experience, from the deaths of ...
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No Silent Witness: The Eliot Parsonage Women and Their Unitarian World

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Overview

This group biography follows three generations of ministers' daughters and wives in a famed American Unitarian family. Shifting the focus from pulpit to parsonage, and from sermon to whispered secrets, Cynthia Tucker humanizes the Eliots and their religious tradition and lifts up a largely neglected female vocation. Spanning 150 years from the early 19th century forward, the narrative shapes itself into a series of stories. Each of six chapters takes up a different woman's defining experience, from the deaths of numerous children and the anguish of infertility to the suffocation of small parish life with its chronic loneliness, doubt, and resentment. One woman confides in a rare close friend, another in the anonymous readers of magazines that publish her poems. A third escapes from an ill-fitting role by succumbing to neurasthenia, leaving one debilitating condition for another. The matriarch's granddaughters script larger lives, bypassing marriage and churchly employment to follow their hearts into same-sex relationships, and major careers in public health and preschool education. In two concluding chapters, Tucker enlarges the frame to bring in the regular parish women who collectively give voice to issues the ministers' kin must keep to themselves. All of the stories are linked by the women's continuing battles to make themselves heard over clerical wisdom that contradicts their reality.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Tucker has created a moving portrait of three generations of Unitarian women and the religious world that both inspired them and limited their choices."— ournal of American History

"In Prophetic Sisterhood, Cynthia Tucker demonstrated that women's networks are as fascinating as their individual lives. Here she brings her trademark style of group biography to the wives and daughters of Unitarianisms most distinguished clerical family. Tucker reveals almost the whole of Unitarian history (and much more!) through the eyes of women, challenging scholars of other traditions to map the friendships and ministries of the amphibious creatures who inhabit parsonages."

—Dan McKanan, Ralph Waldo Emerson Unitarian Universalist Association Senior Lecturer in Divinity, Harvard Divinity School

"In this compelling and beautifully written text, Cynthia Grant Tucker unearths the complexity of the lives of wives, sisters and mothers of ministers, highlighting the ways in which women challenged the divisions between the private and public, personal and political, and secular and sacred, as they sought to express their creativity in ways that were personally fulfilling and socially transformative. In her honest recounting of the ambiguities of these lives marked by both privilege and limitation, Tucker gives us a deeper and richer understanding of the complexity of human experience."

—Sharon D. Welch, author of After Empire: The Art and Ethos of Enduring Peace

"Tucker has created a moving portrait of three generations of Unitarian women and the religious world that both inspired them and limited their choices."Catherice A, Berkus, University of Brekus, University of Chicago

"In this work, Tucker gives us something unique: three generations of the Eliot women, the
'unordained partners' of 'one of America's premier Unitarian dynasties.'"—Religious Studies Review

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780199889235
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 6/30/2010
  • Series: Religion in America
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • File size: 8 MB

Meet the Author

Cynthia Grant Tucker is Professor of English, University of Memphis, Member of Editorial Board, Journal of Unitarian Universalist History.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
Major Events
Chart of The Eliot Forebears
Chapter 1: The Unitarian Universe
Chapter 2: Calling the Family Together
Chapter 3: The Rush of Words
Chapter 4: Where Words Fail
Chapter 5: The Voice Coach
Chapter 6: Reduced to a Whisper
Chapter 7: Talking Back and Taking Flight
Chapter 8: A Larger Sphere
Chapter 9: New Rules of Engagement
Chapter 10: Old Work and New
Chapter 11: No Parting Word
The Family Roster
Abbreviations
Notes
Bibliography
Index

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