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Separated by Their Sex: Women in Public and Private in the Colonial Atlantic World

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Separated by Their Sex: Women in Public and Private in the Colonial Atlantic World Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

In Separated by Their Sex, Mary Beth Norton offers a bold genealogy that shows how gender came to determine the right of access to the Anglo-American public sphere by the middle of the eighteenth century. Earlier, high-status men and women alike had been recognized as appropriate political actors, as exemplified during and after Bacon's Rebellion by the actions of-and reactions to-Lady Frances Berkeley, wife of Virginia's governor. By contrast, when the first ordinary English women to claim a political voice directed group petitions to Parliament during the Civil War of the 1640s, men relentlessly criticized and parodied their efforts. Even so, as late as 1690 Anglo-American women's political interests and opinions were publicly acknowledged. Norton traces the profound shift in attitudes toward women's participation in public affairs to the age's cultural arbiters, including John Dunton, editor of the Athenian Mercury, a popular 1690s periodical that promoted women's links to husband, family, and household. Fittingly, Dunton was the first author known to apply the word "private" to women and their domestic lives. Subsequently, the immensely influential authors Richard Steele and Joseph Addison (in the Tatler and the Spectator) advanced the notion that women's participation in politics-even in political dialogues-was absurd. They and many imitators on both sides of the Atlantic argued that women should confine themselves to home and family, a position that American women themselves had adopted by the 1760s. Colonial women incorporated the novel ideas into their self-conceptions; during such "private" activities as sitting around a table drinking tea, they worked to define their own lives. On the cusp of the American Revolution, Norton concludes, a newly gendered public-private division was firmly in place.

Table of Contents

Lady Frances Berkeley and Virginia politics, 1675-1678 — Mistress Alice Tilly and her supporters, 1649-1650 — English women in the public realm, 1642-1653 — Mistress Elinor James and her broadsides, 1681-1714 — John Dunton and the invention of the feminine private — Mistress Sarah Kemble Knight and her journal, 1704 — Women and politics, eighteenth century style — Lady Chatham and her correspondents, 1740s-1760s — Consolidating the feminine private — Conclusion : defining "women."

Product Details

ISBN:
9780801461378
Subtitle:
Women in Public and Private in the Colonial Atlantic World
Publisher:
Cornell University Press
Author:
Norton, Mary Beth
Subject:
HISTORY / Social History
Subject:
Women
Subject:
History
Subject:
Great britain
Subject:
Women in public life
Subject:
United states
Subject:
Colonial period, ca. 1600-1775
Subject:
Gender Studies-General
Subject:
Gender Studies-Womens Studies
Subject:
main_subject
Subject:
all_subjects
Publication Date:
20110414
Binding:
ELECTRONIC
Language:
English
Pages:
247

Related Subjects

History and Social Science » Europe » Great Britain » General History
History and Social Science » Gender Studies » Womens Studies
History and Social Science » Sociology » General
History and Social Science » US History » Colonial America
History and Social Science » World History » General

Separated by Their Sex: Women in Public and Private in the Colonial Atlantic World
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Product details 247 pages Cornell University Press - English 9780801461378 Reviews:
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