Rooted in the printed sources of the period, this book reconstructs the attitudes of a pioneer generation of young women to the conflicts brought about by their new experience of employment outside their homes, and to changes in work and family relationships. In the 1890s and after the still prevalent Victorian conception of respectable womanhood excluded wage-earning women. Yet working-class women themselves did not acquiesce in this judgement, and Eisenstein’s exploration of Victorian ideas about women and work – using the contemporary middle-class literature of advice and prescription to this new workforce – makes a historical study which is a classic of its kind.
The book was originally published in 1983.
Part 1: Introductory Essays 1. Introduction Harold Benenson 2. Bread and Roses: Working Women’s Consciousness, 1905-20 Part 2: Essays in the Study of Working Women’s Consciousness 3. The Study of Working Women’s Consciousness 4. Victorian Ideology and Working Women 5. Working Women’s Attitudes Toward Marriage and Work. Appendix. Afterword Nancy Cott