Love and Toil: Motherhood in Outcast London, 1870-1918 by Ellen RossLove and Toil: Motherhood in Outcast London, 1870-1918 by Ellen Ross

Love and Toil: Motherhood in Outcast London, 1870-1918

byEllen Ross

Paperback | October 1, 1995

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The feisty warm-hearted "mum" has long figured as a symbol of the working class in Britain, yet working-class history has emphasized male organizations such as clubs, unions, or political parties. Investigating a different dimension of social history, Love and Toil focuses on motherhood amongthe London poor in the late Victorian and Edwardian years, and on the cultures, communities, and ties with husbands and children that women created. Mothers' skills in managing the family budget, earning income, and caring for their children were critical in protecting households from the worsthardships of industrial capitalism, yet poverty or the threat of it molded intimate relationships and left its imprint on personalities. This book is also a case study demonstrating the larger argument that the concept of "motherhood" is more socially and historically constructed than biologicallydetermined. Shaky household economics, pressure toward respectability, the close proximity of neighbors, the precariousness of infant and child life, and little chance of better lives for their children shaped the work and emotions of motherhood much more than did the biological experiences ofpregnancy, birth, and lactation.This beautifully written book, embellished with Cockney slang and music hall songs, addresses fascinating questions in the fields of women's studies, labor history, social policy, and family history.
Ellen Ross is Professor of Women's Studies at Ramapo College.
Title:Love and Toil: Motherhood in Outcast London, 1870-1918Format:PaperbackDimensions:336 pages, 6.06 × 9.17 × 0.71 inPublished:October 1, 1995Publisher:Oxford University Press

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0195083210

ISBN - 13:9780195083217

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Editorial Reviews

"It is an extraordinary work: engagingly written, richly textured, exhaustively and inventively researched, a model of social history. It brilliantly synthesizes much of the past fifteen years' work in working women's history and the history of social policy. Through telling detail and apowerful interpretative line, it magically brings to life the historiography on housing, infant welfare, and fertility, among other topics, which heretofore has generally been presented as plodding, flat description. It offers a definitive portrayal of the centrality of mothers to working-class lifeand social relations in poor London neighborhoods of the pre-war period and to the historic transformation of their 'labour of love' by medical experts, charity workers, and state policy by the 1920s."--Judith R. Walkowitz, The Johns Hopkins University