This perceptive book studies the Victorian woman in the home and in the family. One of the central purposes is to rescue Victorian woman from the realm of myth where her life was spent in frivolous trifles and instead to show how she had a major part to play in the practical management of the home.
The author makes judicious use of domestic manuals and other material written specifically for middle-class women. With statistical data to quantify the image as well, this book presents a better understanding of what it was like to be a middle-class woman in nineteenth-century England. Looking at the middle-class woman’s problems as mistress of the house, her problems with domestics, her problems as mother and her problems as woman we can begin not merely to characterise the middle-class woman but to define her as an element of British social history and as a silent but significant agent of change.
The book was first published in 1975.
Part 1: The Outer Woman 1. The Victorian Woman – Off the Pedestal and into History 2. Do’s and Don’ts for the Mistress of the House 3. The Modern Homemaker Part 2: The Inner Woman 4. The Struggle for Better Health 5. The Dynamics of Victorian Motherhood 6. A New Model of Child Care 7. Middle-Class Women and Birth Control – A Personal Triumph Part 3: Conclusions 8. Middle-Class Women and Modernization