How to Make It as a Woman outlines the history of prosopography or group biography, focusing on the all-female collections that took hold in nineteenth-century Britain and America. The queens, nurses, writers, reformers, adventurers, even assassins in these collective female biographies served as models to guide the moral development of young women. But often these famous historical women presented untrustworthy examples.
Beginning in the fifteenth century with Christine de Pizan, Alison Booth traces the long tradition of this genre, investigating the varied types and stories most often grouped together in illustrated books designed for entertainment and instruction. She claims that these group biographies have been instrumental in constructing modern subjectivities as well as relations among classes, races, and nations.
From Joan of Arc to Virginia Woolf, Booth examines a host of models of womanhood—both bad and good. Incorporating a bibliography that includes more than 900 all-female collections published in English between 1830 and 1940, Booth uses collective biographies to decode the varied advice on how to make it as a woman.
About the Author
Alison Booth is professor of literature at the University of Virginia. She is author of Greatness Engendered: George Eliot and Virginia Woolf and editor of Famous Last Words: Changes in Gender and Narrative Closure.
|List of Illustrations|
|Note on References|
|Introduction: Of Prosopography and Collective Biographies of Women|
|Self-Help History: Presenting Models of Womanhood|
|Heads Turn, Heads Roll: Heroic Types from Judith to Clara Barton|
|How to Minister as a Woman: The Likes of Elizabeth Fry, Mary Carpenter, Dorothea Dix, and the Three Mrs. Judsons|
|The Lessons of the Medusa: Anna Jameson and Mutual Multibiography|
|The World's Fair Women; or, Racial Progress in the Nineteenth Century|
|Writing Women's Lives, Revisited: Virginia Woolf and the Missing Canons of Biography|
|Our Queen Victoria: Feminist Prosopography|
|Bibliography of Collective Biographies of Women, 18301940|
|Appendix to Bibliography|
|Table of Contents provided by Publisher. All Rights Reserved.|
Series: Women in Culture and Society
Number Of Pages: 424
Published: 1st October 2004
Publisher: The University of Chicago Press
Country of Publication: US
Dimensions (cm): 22.9 x 14.7 x 2.5
Weight (kg): 0.58
Edition Number: 2