Physical Culture & Body Beautiful / Edition 1

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In examining the course of the debate between the philosophies of Rousseau and Wollstonecraft in the first seventy years of the nineteenth century, several important conclusions have been reached. First, a much more diverse spectrum of women's exercise existed in the antebellum era than is currently described in modern historical texts. Second, several exercise systems had significant links to an ideal of womanhood - called in this text Majestic Womanhood - which directly competed with the prevailing construct of the ideology of True Womanhood articulated by historian Barbara Welter. Third, purposive training mattered in the lives of American women influencing them physically, intellectually, and emotionally. In many instances this training empowered women to step beyond the confines of their separate sphere of domestic duty and involve themselves in the world outside their homes.
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Editorial Reviews

Todd (kinesiology and health education, U. of Texas, Austin) discusses the diverse spectrum of women's exercise in the antebellum era-- especially exercise systems related to an ideal of womanhood--and the ways that purposive training influenced American women physically, intellectually, and emotionally. She also considers the contributions of several physical education figures: Sarah Pierce, Mary Lyon, William Bentley Fowle, Catherine Beecher, David P. Butler, Dio Lewis, and the phrenologist Orson S. Fowler. Annotation c. by Book News, Inc., Portland, Or.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780865545618
  • Publisher: Mercer University Press
  • Publication date: 6/1/1999
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 384
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Table of Contents

Introduction 1
Ch. 1 Majestic Womanhood vs. "Baby Faced Dolls": The Debate Over Women's Exercise 11
Ch. 2 "Souls of Fire in Iron Hearts": The 1820s Gymnastics Revolution 31
Ch. 3 William Fowle's Monitorial School for Girls: The First American Gymnastics Experiment 71
Ch. 4 The Literature of Calisthenics 89
Ch. 5 "I Practice Calisthenics Every Day and Like It Quite Well": Mary Lyon, Mount Holyoke, and American Calisthenics 119
Ch. 6 Becoming Catharine Beecher: Antebellum Proponent of Women's Exercise 137
Ch. 7 Bigger Bodies - Better Brains: Phrenology and the Health Lift 173
Ch. 8 Dio Lewis and the New Gymnastics: Birth of a System 211
Ch. 9 Textbooks for Majestic Womanhood: The Literary Legacy of Dio Lewis 239
Ch. 10 The Influence of Dio Lewis: "Courage and Strength to Take Up the Battle" 263
Ch. 11 "Reaping the Reward": The Quest for Health by Lizzie Morley and Her Sisters 281
Methodology 301
Bibliography 305
Index 355
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