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Title: Gentry women and work and leisure 1770-1820
Author: Morrissey, Joseph J.
ISNI:       0000 0004 2749 336X
Awarding Body: University of Warwick
Current Institution: University of Warwick
Date of Award: 2013
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Recent scholarship in the late eighteenth/early nineteenth century has explored the active roles of middling and genteel women in the home, redefining such ‘leisure’ activities as polite conversation, tea-making, and embroidery as ‘work’, thereby relocating women’s activities into broader webs of productive relations. The majority of this scholarship has remained largely historical in nature, and my thesis moves this field forward by examining these work/leisure activities in close relation to the developing novel form and its inherent narratological and ideological possibilities, in the period 1770-1820. I analyse the novel and the specific perspectives on work and leisure it generates in relation to narrative mimesis, and the works of Hannah Arendt, Karl Marx, and Arlie Hoschild. Using these diverse theories and theorists, I am able show the autonomy, relaxation, and pleasure women’s activity could potentially give in the period, and therefore show its leisure functions, whilst at the same demonstrate the importance of women’s activity in broad social structures, thereby emphasising their status as work. My first three chapters move through women’s engagement with needlework, musical accomplishment, and reading in that order. As such, I create a progression from needlework, understood as work as such; to musical accomplishment, which is more closely aligned with leisure but which nevertheless required patience and commitment; to the reading of novels, which was usually understood as a purely personal, introverted experience requiring no active effort. I therefore move from activity well understood as work through to activity understood as pure leisure, and gradually break down the work/leisure binary my showing both work and leisure functions within all three activities. My final two chapters extend this argument by considering the seemingly spontaneous acts of falling in love and feeling sympathy within a framework of work, thereby locating emotions within the context of my argument.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: University of Warwick
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: DA Great Britain ; HQ The family. Marriage. Woman