Selections from Eliza Leslie

Overview

Best known for her culinary and domestic guides and the award-winning short story “Mrs. Washington Potts,” Eliza Leslie deserves a much more prominent place in contemporary literary discussions of the nineteenth century. Her writing, known for its overtly moralistic and didactic tones—though often presented with wit and humor—also provides contemporary readers with a nuanced perspective for understanding the diversity among American women in Leslie’s time.
Leslie’s writing ...
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Selections from Eliza Leslie

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Overview

Best known for her culinary and domestic guides and the award-winning short story “Mrs. Washington Potts,” Eliza Leslie deserves a much more prominent place in contemporary literary discussions of the nineteenth century. Her writing, known for its overtly moralistic and didactic tones—though often presented with wit and humor—also provides contemporary readers with a nuanced perspective for understanding the diversity among American women in Leslie’s time.
Leslie’s writing serves as a commentary on gender ideals and consumerism; presents complicated constructions of racial, national, and class-based identities; and critiques literary genres such as the Gothic romance and the love letter. These criticisms are exposed through the juxtaposition of her fiction and nonfiction instructive texts, which range from lessons on literary conduct to needlework; from recipes for American and French culinary dishes to travel sketches; from songs to educational games. Demonstrating the complexity of choices available to women at the time, this volume enables readers to see how Leslie’s rhetoric and audience awareness facilitated her ability to appeal to a broad swath of the nineteenth-century reading public.
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Editorial Reviews

Choice
"[Madden] has brought together a solid collection of Leslie's work, creating a volume that will be of special interest to feminist historians and students of early-19th-century American literature."—Choice
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Product Details

Meet the Author

Eliza Leslie (1787–1858) wrote in several genres and published books of juvenile fiction as well as several books on domesticity, which include Directions for Cookery, one of the most popular nineteenth-century American cookbooks. Etta M. Madden is a professor of English at Missouri State University. She is the coeditor, with Martha Finch, of Eating in Eden: Food and American Utopias (Nebraska 2006) and the author of Bodies of Life: Shaker Literature and Literacies.
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