WOMEN ADVISING WOMEN
Advice Books, Manuals and Journals for Women, 1450-1837
Part 2: Advice Books, Manuals, Almanacs and Journals, c.1625-1837 from the Bodleian Library, Oxford
"Conventional wisdom holds that numerous ideologies emerged in England between 1625 and 1837. Guided by the historiography of the family one might expect to find the cult of romantic love, sentimental motherhood, and child-centred family life promulgated in advice books from the late seventeenth century. Inspired by the concerns of literary criticism, a student might scour early eighteenth century print for the appearance of the 'new domestic woman' freshly discovering the joys of private reading and self-consciously displaying a new range of polite feminine accomplishments to the male gaze. Directed by the orthodox account of nineteenth century women's history, the reader might assume that an ideology of separate spheres advocating the confinement of women to a purely domestic role and realm would surface in prescriptive literature in the last decades of the eighteenth century. Now all these preconceptions can be challenged or confirmed by the long run of contemporary commentary contained in Women Advising Women Part 2. The reader of Women Advising Women is afforded the opportunity to map a multiplicity of eighteenth century discourses and to engage with a range of debates in social, cultural and literary history."
Dr Amanda Vickery, Consultant Editor for this Series,
Lecturer in Modern British Women's History, Royal Holloway, University of London
This second part concentrates on prescriptive literature, offering over 300 household manuals, cookbooks, guidance books on marriage, child-birth and child-rearing, letter-writing manuals, recreational volumes and primers on the law and medicine for women. Titles range from Hannah Wolleys Accomplisht ladys delight (1675), Gentlewomans Companion (1675), and The Compleat Servant Maid (1685); through The Ladies Dictionary (1694), Every Woman her own Physician (1739) and The Ladys Poetical Magazine (1780-1783), to The Ladys Cabinet Lawyer (1837) and the longevious Ladies Diary: or womans almanac (1706-1840).