Conduct Books in Nineteenth-Century Literature Criticism: Women's Education - Essay

Jane Roland Martin (essay date 1985)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Martin, Jane Roland. “Beecher's Homemakers.” In Reclaiming a Conversation: The Ideal of the Educated Woman, pp. 103-38. New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 1985.

[In the following excerpt, Martin maintains that Catharine Beecher's theories of women's education and domestic management in Treatise on Domestic Economy strongly emphasize the importance and challenges of nineteenth-century women's domestic role, progressively placing it on the same level as men's public role.]

In A Treatise on Domestic Economy, published in the United States just fifty years after A Vindication was published in England, Catharine Beecher extols the...

(The entire section is 9389 words.)

Maria LaMonaca (essay date 1995)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: LaMonaca, Maria. “‘She Could Make a Cake as Well as Books …’: Catharine Sedgwick, Anna Jameson, and the Construction of the Domestic Intellectual.” Women's Writing 2, no. 3 (1995): 235-49.

[In the following essay, LaMonaca studies Catharine Sedgwick's Means and Ends and Anna Jameson's Characteristics of Women, suggesting that both are progressive conduct books stressing the value of women's intellect and the importance of women's self-improvement through intellectual development, though neither challenges women's traditional roles in society.]

… I resolved to form Dora's mind.


(The entire section is 7190 words.)

Patricia Demers (essay date 1996)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Demers, Patricia. “‘That Which before Us Lies in Daily Life’: Social Discourse.” In The World of Hannah More, pp. 76-98. Lexington: The University Press of Kentucky, 1996.

[In the following excerpt, Demers studies the essays of Hannah More, finding that they stress the importance of education, living a moral and practical life, refraining from frivolity, and fulfilling the feminine role.]

To attempt to compress more than three decades of More's essay writing in a single chapter may seem both trivializing and impossible. The authorial voice does become more resonant, moving from the neophyte's offer of “a few remarks on such circumstances as seemed to...

(The entire section is 6763 words.)

Jane Donawerth (essay date 2002)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Donawerth, Jane. “Nineteenth-Century United States Conduct Book Rhetoric by Women.” Rhetoric Review 21, no. 1 (2002): 5-21.

[In the following essay, Donawerth studies women's conduct books that focus on writing and speaking, finding that while works by Lydia Sigourney and Eliza Farrar emphasize the importance of learning conversation skills and letter writing for the purpose of appropriately influencing one's children, Jennie Willing's The Potential Woman includes discussion of preaching and social reform.]

In 1904 Mary August Jordan, a professor of rhetoric at Smith College, published Correct Writing and Speaking with a national company, A....

(The entire section is 7569 words.)