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ERIC Number: ED401552
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1996-Mar
Pages: 6
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: N/A
Reading Domesticity in the "Harper's Bazar."
Capezzi, Rita A.
"Harper's Bazaar" (spelled "Bazar" before 1925) was designed for use by, as well as for, the instruction of women readers in the 19th century. In the early "Bazar," the didactic discourses of domesticity and reading sometimes intersected. Such was the case with two humorous pieces, "Mrs. Typeset's Diary" (1867), and "The Exceeding Wiliness of Mrs. Mimms" (1908). These textual moments locate audiences for themselves, yet because instruction through reading assumes thinking, i.e., the formulation of ideas enabling reading subjects to construct roles for themselves, the textual examples cannot contain what actual readers might do with them. Domesticity says the job of women is to produce themselves as housewives. Although the activities a woman needed to perform changed over time, the demand for women to be and make the home never wavered. The first piece is a typical example of how women were instructed into the mysteries of domestic practice. Later in the 19th century, the demonstration of how to be domestic came in the form of writing; domestic manuals and periodicals told women what they must know to acquire and produce domesticity. By reading worthy books and periodicals, a housewife would become a better companion to her husband and mother to her children. In the second piece, domesticity comes through the reading of the newspaper by the family. These examples show how specific reading practices are presented as a means of acquiring a specific attitude or behavior, although the humor offers room to question the boundaries of domesticity. (NKA)
Publication Type: Historical Materials; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A