Literature: Jane Austen: Women and Work : Hazel Jones

WI Member: £600.00

Non Member: £650.00

Starts: Monday, 09 March 2020 at 4:00PM
Ends: Friday, 13 March 2020 at 1:00PM
Available spaces: 11

Tutor: Hazel Jones

Women of Jane Austen's rank, and of the gentry and lower aristocracy immediately above it, are usually considered as enjoying leisured lives, despite their many and varied domestic responsibilities inside and outside the home. Their sphere of influence obviously differed according to income, talent and energy, but most women took a lively interest in forming and managing a happy, efficient home environment, a yardstick against which they judged their friends' and neighbours' establishments. Often unacknowledged, invariably undervalued as less important than a man's public and private roles, a woman's duty to create and maintain the family's social, emotional, moral and physical well-being was nevertheless promoted as crucial to the security of the whole nation. Every conduct manual stressed the significance of women's contribution to domestic harmony and efficiency, while seeking to limit its influence. Women were never to assume power or superiority over their fathers, brothers, or husbands, nor seek to control them; even in this circumscribed existence, a man's word was always the last word. This four night course examines what constituted women's work in the 18th and early 19th centuries, with reference to contemporary evidence and Jane Austen's novels and letters. This course includes a visit to Whitchurch Silk Mill, and Chawton Cottage or Chawton House.

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