Social Conduct Literature Criticism: The Impact Of Conduct Literature - Essay

Nancy Armstrong and Leonard Tennenhouse (essay date 1987)

(Literary Criticism (1400-1800))

SOURCE: “The Literature of Conduct, the Conduct of Literature, and the Politics of Desire: An Introduction,” in The Ideology of Conduct: Essays on Literature and the History of Sexuality, pp. 1-24. New York: Methuen & Company, 1987.

[In the following excerpt, Armstrong and Tennenhouse outline the link between the cultural definition of desire and the impact of social conduct books in Europe, especially on the changing definition of gender.]

For, the clearer our conceptions in art and science become, the more they will assimilate themselves to the conceptions of duty in conduct, will become practically stringent like rules of conduct, and will...

(The entire section is 9574 words.)

Ann Rosalind Jones (essay date 1987)

(Literary Criticism (1400-1800))

SOURCE: “Nets and Bridles: Early Modern Conduct Books and Sixteenth Century Women's Lyrics,” in The Ideology of Conduct: Essays on Literature and the History of Sexuality, edited by Nancy Armstrong and Leonard Tennenhouse, pp. 39-72. New York: Methuen & Company, 1987.

[In the essay below, Jones explores how sixteenth-century social conduct books defined socially acceptable behavior, primarily for women and their fathers and husbands. She also shows how the focus of conduct books and the image of women shifted over time.]

Recent analysis of early modern treatises on the nature of women suggests that debates over gender were articulated with basic issues of...

(The entire section is 12571 words.)

Vivien Jones (essay date 1990)

(Literary Criticism (1400-1800))

SOURCE: “Conduct,” in Women in the Eighteenth Century: Constructions of Femininity, pp. 14-17. London: Routledge, 1990.

[In the following excerpt, Jones explores the moral aspects of seventeenth- and eighteenth-century social conduct manuals, many of which focus on women and marriage.]

The concern of all eighteenth-century ‘conduct’ manuals for women is how women might create themselves as objects of male desire, but in terms which will contain that desire within the publicly sanctioned form of marriage. They form a significant sub-genre among the hundreds of books and periodicals (the most famous of which is Addison and Steele's Spectator) which offered...

(The entire section is 892 words.)