Displaying Women explores the role of women in the representation of leisure in turn-of-the-century New York. To see and be seen--on Fifth Avenue and Broadway, in Central Park, and in the fashionable uptown hotels and restaurants--was one of the fundamental principles in the display aesthetic of New York's fashionable society.
Maureen E. Montgomery argues for a reconsideration of the role of women in the bourgeois elite in turn-of-the-century America. By contrasting multiple images of women drawn from newspapers, magazines, private correspondence, etiquette manuals and the New York fiction of Edith Wharton, Henry James and others, she offers a convincing antidote to the long-standing tendency in women's history to overlook women whose class affiliations have put them in a position of power.
"Montgomery offers vital insight into the operation of [gender and class] in one particular, and culturally significant, place and time."
-"American Literary Realism
"Students of US literature, culture, and women's history will welcome this well-documented, readable study of fashionalbe post-Civil War New York....All academic collections."
-"Choice, Jan 1999
..."Montgomery deftly shows how turn-of-the-century New York brought about the marriage of publicity and culture--a relationship where one could not survive or, rather, thrive without the other."
"Recommended for all collections."
"The leisured world of society women in Edith Wharton's New York may have disappeared completely as Schliemann's Troy or Imperial Rome, but it is brought vividly to life by Maureen Montgomery in this fascinating study of a rigidly and artificially ordered culture that brought women curiously unexpected advantages as well as deadly drawbacks."