In the New England Fashion: Reshaping Women's Lives in the Nineteenth Century by Catherine E. KellyIn the New England Fashion: Reshaping Women's Lives in the Nineteenth Century by Catherine E. Kelly

In the New England Fashion: Reshaping Women's Lives in the Nineteenth Century

byCatherine E. Kelly

Paperback | April 4, 2002

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In the first half of the nineteenth century, rural New England society underwent a radical transformation as the traditional household economy gave way to an encroaching market culture. Drawing on a wide array of diaries, letters, and published writings by women in this society, Catherine E. Kelly describes their attempts to make sense of the changes in their world by elaborating values connected to rural life. In her hands, the narratives reveal the dramatic ways female lives were reshaped during the antebellum period and the women's own contribution to those developments. Equally important, she demonstrates how these writings afford a fuller understanding of the capitalist transformation of the countryside and the origins of the Northern middle class.Provincial women exalted rural life for its republican simplicity while condemning that of the city for its aristocratic pretension. The idyllic nature of the former was ascribed to the financial independence that the household economy had long provided those in the farming community. Kelly examines how the juxtaposition of rural virtue to urban vice served as a cautionary defense against the new realities of the capitalist market society. She finds that women responded to the transition to capitalism by upholding a set of values which point toward the creation of a provincial bourgeoisie.
Title:In the New England Fashion: Reshaping Women's Lives in the Nineteenth CenturyFormat:PaperbackDimensions:288 pages, 9.25 × 6.13 × 0.26 inPublished:April 4, 2002Publisher:CORNELL UNIVERSITY PRESSLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0801487862

ISBN - 13:9780801487866

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Editorial Reviews

"Catherine Kelly's book makes a significant contribution to our understanding of the transition to capitalism and class formation in the ante-bellum period. Kelly makes a strong case that provincial middle-class formation followed patterns distinct from those discerned by scholars of the urban bourgeoisie. She provides a subtle account of changes over time, of the interactions between ideologies and forms of representation, and of the role of women's own self-fashioning in bringing about social change and class formation."—Christopher Clark, University of Warwick