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Space and the Representation of Marriage in Eighteenth-Century Advice Literature

Space and the Representation of Marriage in Eighteenth-Century Advice Literature Chris Roulston University of Western Ontario is a particularly rich period for analyzing the relationship between gender and social space. On the one hand, this era marks the beginnings of modern urban society, with its coffeehouses, its salons, and the emergence of newspaper and print culture. Over the course of the century, there developed a democracy of the intellect, and a general culture of civility, in which genteel women were key participants.1 On the other hand, alongside this increasingly urban and public culture, advice literature on married life was working hard to erect firm boundaries between public and private and to construct a domestic space that was sealed off from the public sphere.2 Jürgen Habermas has analyzed the distinction between public and private in dialectical terms, arguing that the construction of a civil society in which public opinion could function democratically depended on the simultaneous construction of an autonomous private subject nurtured within the bourgeois family, an institution that "was the scene of a psychological emancipation that corresponded to the political-economic one."3 While Habermas also acknowledges that the bourgeois family's image of itself as emancipated functioned as a fictional construction, since "the family was not exempted from the http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png The Eighteenth Century University of Pennsylvania Press

Space and the Representation of Marriage in Eighteenth-Century Advice Literature

The Eighteenth Century , Volume 49 (1) – Apr 26, 2008

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Publisher
University of Pennsylvania Press
Copyright
Copyright © 2008 Texas Tech University Press
ISSN
1935-0201
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Abstract

Chris Roulston University of Western Ontario is a particularly rich period for analyzing the relationship between gender and social space. On the one hand, this era marks the beginnings of modern urban society, with its coffeehouses, its salons, and the emergence of newspaper and print culture. Over the course of the century, there developed a democracy of the intellect, and a general culture of civility, in which genteel women were key participants.1 On the other hand, alongside this increasingly urban and public culture, advice literature on married life was working hard to erect firm boundaries between public and private and to construct a domestic space that was sealed off from the public sphere.2 Jürgen Habermas has analyzed the distinction between public and private in dialectical terms, arguing that the construction of a civil society in which public opinion could function democratically depended on the simultaneous construction of an autonomous private subject nurtured within the bourgeois family, an institution that "was the scene of a psychological emancipation that corresponded to the political-economic one."3 While Habermas also acknowledges that the bourgeois family's image of itself as emancipated functioned as a fictional construction, since "the family was not exempted from the

Journal

The Eighteenth CenturyUniversity of Pennsylvania Press

Published: Apr 26, 2008

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