Victorian London's Middle-Class Housewife: What She Did All Day

Victorian London's Middle-Class Housewife: What She Did All Day

by Yaffa Claire Draznin
     
 

ISBN-10: 0313313997

ISBN-13: 9780313313998

Pub. Date: 11/28/2000

Publisher: ABC-CLIO, Incorporated

Through a detailed description of the life and activities of the middle-class married woman of London between 1875 and 1900, this study reveals how housewives unwittingly became engines for change as the new century neared. In marked contrast to the stereotypical depictions of Victorian women in literature and on television, Draznin reveals a woman seldom seen:

Overview

Through a detailed description of the life and activities of the middle-class married woman of London between 1875 and 1900, this study reveals how housewives unwittingly became engines for change as the new century neared. In marked contrast to the stereotypical depictions of Victorian women in literature and on television, Draznin reveals a woman seldom seen: the stay-at-home housewife whose activities were not much different than those of her counterparts today. By exploring her daily activities, how she cleaned her home, disciplined her children, managed her servants, stretched a limited budget, and began to indulge herself, one discovers the human dimension of women who lived more than a century ago. While most studies of this period consider values, aspirations, and attitudes, this book concentrates on actions, what these women did all day, to provide readers with a new perspective on Victorian life.

Late-Victorian London was a surprisingly modern city with a public face of well-lit streets, an excellent underground railway system, and extended municipal services. In the home, gas stoves were replacing coal ranges and household appliances were becoming more common. Having both money to spend and a strong incentive to buy the new laborsaving devices, ready-to-wear clothing, and other manufactured products, the middle-class matron's resistance to change gave way to a rising consumer culture. Despite her nearly exclusive preoccupation with home and family, these urban women became agents for the modernization of Britain.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780313313998
Publisher:
ABC-CLIO, Incorporated
Publication date:
11/28/2000
Series:
Contributions in Women's Studies Series
Pages:
256
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.75(d)
Lexile:
1760L (what's this?)

Table of Contents

Preface

The MCMW's Background: 1850-1875

Growing Up Female in Mid-century England

Greater London in 1875: A Resident's View

The MCMW's Spouse and the Couple's First Home

The Matron's Appearance: Her Looks and Her Clothing

The Reality: Life in Greater London, 1875-1900

The Housewife as Lowly Domestic: Cleaning the House and Doing the Laundry

The Housewife as Specialized Domestic: Preparing the Meals and Clothing the Family

The Housewife as Employer: Managing the Servants

The Housewife as Financial Manager: Balancing the Budget

The Matron in Her Maternal Role: As Bride, Potential Mother, and Pregnant Wife

The Matron as Guardian of the Family's Health

The Matron as Nurturer of the Children: Early Child Care and Education

The Matron as Social Secretary and Activities Coordinator

The Matron as Morals Arbiter: Managing Family Religious and Charitable Obligations

The Matron as Her Own Person: Satisfying Personal Needs Within and Outside the Home

The Middle-class Housewife as Shopper: The Emergence of Late 19th-century "Consumerism"

The End of the Century: Conclusion

London in 1900: A World City Reluctant to Change

The Middle-class Housewife in 1900: Inadvertent Agent for Change

Appendix

Bibliography

Index

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