Women's Work challenges influential accounts about gender and the novel by revealing the complex ways in which labour, informed the lives and writing of a number of middling and genteel women authors publishing between 1750 and 1830.
This book provides a particularly rich, yet largely neglected, seam of texts for exploring the vexed relationship between gender, work and writing. The four chapters that follow contain thoroughly contextualized case studies of the treatment of manual, intellectual and domestic labour in the work and careers of Sarah Scott, Charlotte Smith, Mary Wollstonecraft and women applicants to the writer's charity, the Literary Fund.
By making women's work visible in our studies of female-authored fiction of the period, Batchelor reveals the crucial role that these women played in articulating debates about the gendered division of labour, the (in)compatibility of women's domestic and professional lives and the status and true value of women's work that shaped eighteenth-century culture as surely as they shape our own. -- .
Jennie Batchelor is Senior Lecturer in English and American Literature at the University of Kent -- .
Acknowledgements Introduction 1. The 'gift' of work: labour, narrative and community in the novels of Sarah Scott 2. Somebody's story: Charlotte Smith and the Work of Writing 3. The 'business' of a woman's life and the making of the Female Philosopher: the works of Mary Wollstonecraft 4. Women writers, the popular press and the Literary Fund, 1790-1830 Coda: reading labour and writing women's literary history Bibliography -- .