(1) ‘Her first duty’ – beauty, morality, and the gilded cage / (2)‘To maintain vigour’ – population, fitness, and race / (3) ‘The song of the skirt’ – raw nature and fashionable conduct / (4) ‘Good breeding’ – combatting the decline of the population / (5) ‘The hand that rocks the cradle’ – scientific mothers and strong babies / (6) ‘Cleanliness is next to godliness’ – health, habit, and domestic economy / (7) ‘We do hereby authorise and require’ – contagion, public health, and a return to home. / Synthesis / Bibliography
In Home, Nature, and the Feminine Ideal Elaine Stratford presents a lucid and eloquently written account of the ways in which bodies shape, and are shaped by, geographies of the interior and empire. This powerful book beautifully illustrates the connections between feminine embodiment, home, and nature in the Anglophone world during the long nineteenth century. With compelling attention to periodical press as well as other formal and populist texts (a collaboration with the archive), Stratford charts the mechanisms of life and place. She explores national and imperial ambitions as they are entangled and folded through bodies, home, nature, communities, settlements, regions, colonies and territories. The book reveals deep insights into intricate biopolitical assemblages of gender, race, and class. Empirical gems - beauty; health; fashion; moral and social progress; scientific motherhood, domestic economy, public health and bad smells – cause the reader to pause, reflect and rethink notions of progress and reform. This stunning book will be an invaluable resource across the social sciences and humanities.