The Secret History of Domesticity: Public, Private, and the Division of Knowledge

The Secret History of Domesticity: Public, Private, and the Division of Knowledge

By: Michael McKeon (author)Paperback

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Taking English culture as its representative sample, The Secret History of Domesticity asks how the modern notion of the public-private relation emerged in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Treating that relation as a crucial instance of the modern division of knowledge, Michael McKeon narrates its pre-history along with that of its essential component, domesticity. This narrative draws upon the entire spectrum of English people's experience. At the most "public" extreme are political developments like the formation of civil society over against the state, the rise of contractual thinking, and the devolution of absolutism from monarch to individual subject. The middle range of experience takes in the influence of Protestant and scientific thought, the printed publication of the private, the conceptualization of virtual publics-society, public opinion, the market-and the capitalization of production, the decline of the domestic economy, and the increase in the sexual division of labor. The most "private" pole of experience involves the privatization of marriage, the family, and the household, and the complex entanglement of femininity, interiority, subjectivity, and sexuality. McKeon accounts for how the relationship between public and private experience first became intelligible as a variable interaction of distinct modes of being-not a static dichotomy, but a tool to think with. Richly illustrated with nearly 100 images, including paintings, engravings, woodcuts, and a representative selection of architectural floor plans for domestic interiors, this volume reads graphic forms to emphasize how susceptible the public-private relation was to concrete and spatial representation. McKeon is similarly attentive to how literary forms evoked a tangible sense of public-private relations-among them figurative imagery, allegorical narration, parody, the author-character-reader dialectic, aesthetic distance, and free indirect discourse. He also finds a structural analogue for the emergence of the modern public-private relation in the conjunction of what contemporaries called the "secret history" and the domestic novel. A capacious and synthetic historical investigation, The Secret History of Domesticity exemplifies how the methods of literary interpretation and historical analysis can inform and enrich one another.

About Author

Michael McKeon is Board of Governors Professor of Literature at Rutgers University, the author of Politics and Poetry in Restoration England and The Origins of the English Novel, and the editor of Theory of the Novel.


List of IllustrationsAcknowledgmentsIntroductionThe Division of KnowledgeThe Public and the PrivateDomesticityForm and Spatial RepresentabilityQuestions of MethodPart I: The Age of Separations1. The Devolution of AbsolutismState and Civil SocietyFrom Tacit to ExplicitPolis and OikosThe State and the FamilyAbsolute Private PropertyInterest and the Public InterestCivic Humanism or Capitalist Ideology?From the Marketplace to the MarketThe Protestant SeparationConscientious Privacy and the Closet of DevotionWhat Is the Public Sphere?2. Publishing the PrivateThe Plasticity of PrintScribal PublicationPrint, Property, and the Public InterestPrint Legislation and CopyrightKnowledge and SecrecyPublic OpinionWhat Was the Public Sphere?Publicness through VirtualityPublication and PersonalityAnonymity and ResponsibilityLibel versus SatireCharacters, Authors, ReadersParticulars and GeneralsActual and Concrete Particularity3. From State as Family to Family as StateState as FamilyFamily as StateComing TogetherBeing TogetherPutting AsunderTory Feminism and the Devolution of AbsolutismPrivacy and Pastoral4. Outside and Inside WorkThe Domestic Economy and Cottage IndustryThe Economic Basis of Separate SpheresHousewife as GovernorThe Whore's LaborThe Whores Rhetorick5. Subdividing Inside SpacesSeparating Out "Science"The Royal HouseholdCabinet and ClosetSecrets and the SecretaryNoble and Gentle HouseholdsThe Curtain LectureHouseholds of the Middling SortWhere the Poor Should Live6. Sex and Book SexSexAristotle's Master-pieceOnaniaBook SexProtopornography: Sex and ReligionProtopornography: Sex and PoliticsThe Law of Obscene LibelPart II: Domestication as Form7. Motives for DomesticationThe Productivity of the Division of KnowledgeDomestication as HermeneuticsDomestication as PedagogyDisembedding Epistemology from Social StatusScientific DisinterestednessCivic DisinterestednessAesthetic Disinterestedness8. Mixed GenresTragicomedyRomanceMock EpicPastoralChrist in the House of Martha and Mary9. Figures of DomesticationNarrative ConcentrationNarrative ConcretizationPart III: Secret Histories10. The Narration of Public CrisisWhat Is a Secret History?Sidney and BarclayOpening the King's CabinetOpening the Queen's ClosetScuderyWomen and RomanceThe King Out of PowerThe King in PowerThe Secret of the Black BoxThe Secret of The Holy War11. Behn's Love-LettersLove versus War?Love versus FriendshipFathers versus ChildrenEffeminacy and the Public WifeGender without SexFrom Epistolary to Third PersonFrom Female Duplicity to Female InteriorityLove-Letters and Pornography12. Toward the Narration of Private LifeThe Secret of the Warming PanThe Private Lives of William, Mary, and AnneThe Privatization of the Secret HistoryThe Strange Case of Beau Wilson13. Secret History as AutobiographyPreface on CongreveManley's New AtalantisManley's RivellaPostscript on Pope14. Secret History as NovelDefoe and SwiftJane Barker and Mary HearneHaywood's Secret HistoriesRichardson's Pamela15. Variations on the Domestic NovelFanny HillTristram ShandyHumphry ClinkerPride and PrejudiceNotesIndex

Product Details

  • ISBN13: 9780801885402
  • Format: Paperback
  • Number Of Pages: 904
  • ID: 9780801885402
  • weight: 1270
  • ISBN10: 080188540X

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