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Ladies of the Leisure Class : The Bourgeoises of Northern France in the 19th Century - Bonnie G. Smith

Ladies of the Leisure Class

The Bourgeoises of Northern France in the 19th Century

Paperback Published: 21st October 1981
ISBN: 9780691101217
Number Of Pages: 324

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In a social and cultural study of nineteenth-century bourgeois women in northern France, Bonnie Smith shows how the advent of industrialization removed women from the productive activity of the middle class and confined them to a largely reproductive experience. Out of this, she suggests, they created their own world, centered on domesticity, family, and religion. To understand these women, the author argues, it is necessary to examine their world on its own terms as a coherent whole.

Professor Smith draws on demographic, psychoanalytic, anthropological, linguistic, as well as historical insights and uses a variety of evidence that includes personal interviews, photographs, letters, genealogical records, and traditional archival sources. Part One outlines the transition from mercantile to industrial manufacturing that terminated the relationship between home and business and that separated the sexes according to their respective functions. Part Two concentrates on the lives of the women following their acceptance of an exclusively reproductive function and shows how the interdependence and fusion of household chores, religious values, and social conscience fostered a unified cultural system. Part Three, then, explores the propagation of this domesticity by the convent, as the primary educational system, and by the sentimental novel, as the vehicle most suited for an ideological expression of domestic life.

List of Illustrationsp. ix
List of Tablesp. xi
The Historical Context
Introduction: A World Apartp. 3
The Nord and Its Menp. 18
The Productive Life of Womenp. 34
The Domestic System
Domesticity: The Rhetoric of Reproductionp. 53
Cosmos: Faith versus Reasonp. 93
Society: Charity versus Capitalismp. 123
Passing the Torch
Education: Innocence versus Enlightenmentp. 165
The Domestic Mythp. 187
Woman's Mentality versus Liberal Consciousnessp. 214
Tablesp. 219
Acknowledgments and Sourcesp. 227
Abbreviationsp. 230
Notesp. 231
Bibliographyp. 269
Indexp. 297
Table of Contents provided by Syndetics. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9780691101217
ISBN-10: 0691101213
Audience: Tertiary; University or College
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 324
Published: 21st October 1981
Country of Publication: US
Dimensions (cm): 21.62 x 14.22  x 2.18
Weight (kg): 0.4