Change of Condition: Women's Rhetorical Strategies on Marriage, 1710-1756

PDF Version Also Available for Download.

Description

This dissertation examines ways in which women constructed and criticized matrimony both before and after their own marriages. Social historians have argued for the rise of companionacy in the eighteenth century without paying attention to women's accounts of the fears and uncertainties surrounding the prospect of marriage. I argue that having more latitude to choose a husband did not diminish the enormous impact that the choice would have on the rest of a woman's life; if anything, choice might increase that impact. Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, Hester Mulso Chapone, Mary Delany, and Eliza Haywood recorded their anxieties about and their ... continued below

Creation Information

Wood, Laura Thomason December 2005.

Context

This dissertation is part of the collection entitled: UNT Theses and Dissertations and was provided by UNT Libraries to Digital Library, a digital repository hosted by the UNT Libraries. It has been viewed 429 times . More information about this dissertation can be viewed below.

Who

People and organizations associated with either the creation of this dissertation or its content.

Chair

Committee Members

Publisher

Rights Holder

For guidance see Citations, Rights, Re-Use.

  • Wood, Laura Thomason

Provided By

UNT Libraries

Library facilities at the University of North Texas function as the nerve center for teaching and academic research. In addition to a major collection of electronic journals, books and databases, five campus facilities house just under six million cataloged holdings, including books, periodicals, maps, documents, microforms, audiovisual materials, music scores, full-text journals and books. A branch library is located at the University of North Texas Dallas Campus.

Contact Us

What

Descriptive information to help identify this dissertation. Follow the links below to find similar items on the Digital Library.

Degree Information

Description

This dissertation examines ways in which women constructed and criticized matrimony both before and after their own marriages. Social historians have argued for the rise of companionacy in the eighteenth century without paying attention to women's accounts of the fears and uncertainties surrounding the prospect of marriage. I argue that having more latitude to choose a husband did not diminish the enormous impact that the choice would have on the rest of a woman's life; if anything, choice might increase that impact. Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, Hester Mulso Chapone, Mary Delany, and Eliza Haywood recorded their anxieties about and their criticisms of marriage in public and private writings from the early years of the century into the 1750s. They often elide their own complex backgrounds in favor of generalized policy statements on what constitutes a good marriage. These women promote an ideal of marriage based on respect and similarity of character, suggesting that friendship is more honest, and durable than romantic love. This definition of ideal marriage enables these women to argue for more egalitarian marital relationships without overtly calling for a change in the wife's traditional role. The advancement of this ideal of companionacy gave women a means of promoting gender equality in marriage at a time when they considered marriage risky but socially and economically necessary.

Language

Identifier

Unique identifying numbers for this dissertation in the Digital Library or other systems.

Collections

This dissertation is part of the following collection of related materials.

UNT Theses and Dissertations

Theses and dissertations represent a wealth of scholarly and artistic content created by masters and doctoral students in the degree-seeking process. __Some ETDs in this collection are restricted to use by the UNT community__.

What responsibilities do I have when using this dissertation?

When

Dates and time periods associated with this dissertation.

Creation Date

  • December 2005

Added to The UNT Digital Library

  • Feb. 15, 2008, 4:32 p.m.

Description Last Updated

  • Jan. 21, 2014, 2:12 p.m.

Usage Statistics

When was this dissertation last used?

Yesterday: 0
Past 30 days: 2
Total Uses: 429

Interact With This Dissertation

Here are some suggestions for what to do next.

Start Reading

PDF Version Also Available for Download.

Citations, Rights, Re-Use

Wood, Laura Thomason. Change of Condition: Women's Rhetorical Strategies on Marriage, 1710-1756, dissertation, December 2005; Denton, Texas. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc4921/: accessed February 26, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; .