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- Women and Property in the Eighteenth-Century English Novel.
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The concomitant of that observation might be merely than men were concentrated in the building and transport sectors — and, of course, the educated professional sector. What is interesting is the particular divisions of labour within the sectors, and the differences in those divisions over time and place.
The only one of these six occupations in midth-century London with three quarters of a million people which matched this exclusive gender profile was the masons. Thanks to Locklin, we know that in Nantes, one third of the innkeepers and mercers, and half of the whole-cloth merchants and fish vendors, were women. Something like the same may have been true of London and of other cities, but the intensive research required to find out has not yet been undertaken. Two recent theses on the northern Netherlands show similarly high levels of female activity in the commercial world and in the textile industry.
Locklin devotes an extended discussion to the intersections of work, sexuality and honour for women, and how accusations of sexual impropriety could be used against a commercial rival for financial advantage pp. For purposes of comparison, recall the frequency of applications for marital separation, which averaged more than six per year in rural, sparsely populated Tregor region. Not that there is any necessary connection between the two types of case, but if the occurrence of separation is described as rare, then accusations of sexual impropriety, while more frequent than we might wish, must also be pretty unusual in fact.
And significantly, the number of convictions in these cases appears to have been much smaller than the number of accusations p. Locklin is eminently sensible in her conclusions: 'Women had to be careful about their social conduct in a way that men did not. But it would be foolish to conclude from this that women could never enjoy social lives outside the home' p. Both books struggle with the apparent contradiction between patriarchal legal and economic structures which attempted to control women's labour, property, and reputation to a much greater extent than they attempted to control men's labour, reputation and property, and evidence of women not merely entering the labour market and the public sphere, but not infrequently doing so successfully and on a long-term basis.
The editors of The Invisible Woman offer as evidence of the invisibility of the professional woman that women were not represented as writers or painters or actors p. But the recent exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery, 'Brilliant Women: 18th-century Bluestockings', brought together a large number of rarely seen but significant pictures. Portraits of the artists Mary Moser and Angelica Kauffmann, the 'milkwoman' poet Ann Yearsley, the scholar Elizabeth Carter, historian Catherine Macaulay, and writers Hannah More and Mary Wollstonecraft, among others, all represented the tools of their professions.
Women and Property in the Eighteenth-Century English Novel : April London :
The mythologised but nonetheless real group portrait of the 'nine living muses' painted in , and subsequently etched and engraved for reproduction, so relatively widely seen also represented these women as the possessors of artistic skills. These were of course only the most prominent women, and only those in the bluestocking circle. But thousands of women took more mundane public roles. The matron of St Bartholomew's Hospital in London, who in supervised more than sisters, nurses, servants, and porters Invisible Woman , p. Dubois's study of London musicians articulates a recurring problem in the study of women's work: one 'comes up against the difficulty of having a clear picture of the concrete reality of this work.
One is soon led to tackle the question in terms of representations, as most primary sources tend to obliterate the practical details which might enable one to build up a clearer idea … of the material, practical and technical aspects of the profession, beyond the common stereotypes of the period' p.
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The same applies to many, many trades across Europe, from the humblest the fripiers , the Nantes junk dealers' guild, for example , through the hospital matrons, to the most elite noble governesses, say. But it is not only female occupations about which historians know so little: not a great deal is known about male occupations either.
The qualifications often appended to discussions of women's work — that it was largely unskilled, insecure, seasonal, and part-time — probably also applied to most men's work. Both of these books are part of the project leading towards a fully gendered view of the early modern economy and a fully gendered account of work and identity. The essays in The Invisible Woman offer pointers and ideas for future research. Locklin's study provides impressive evidence of the extent of remunerative work among Breton women at all social levels and also at all stages of their lives.
The female occupational cycle may have been less affected by the familial cycle in the early modern period than it would become in later centuries. Making meaning as constructive labor 3. Wicked confederacies 4. Pastoral: Introduction 5. The Man of Feeling 6. Community and Confederacy: Introduction 7.
The Politics of Reading: Introduction 9. The gendering of radical representation History, romance, and the anti-Jacobins' 'common sense' Reviews 'April London's fascinating study of the eighteenth-century novel offers a sustained investigation of the 'ways in which the signal importance of property to the eighteenth century is both affirmed and complicated when women are included in the account.
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Social and Family Life in the Late17th & Early 18th Centuries
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