Rowman and Littlefield International

Home, Nature and the Feminine Ideal

Geographies of the Interior and of Empire

By Elaine Stratford

Publication Date: Dec 2018

Pages 256

Hardback 9781783485086
£80.00 €112.00 $120.00
Ebook 9781783485109
£24.99 €34.99 $38.99
Not available for pre-order
Positioned between geography and the humanities, Home, Nature and the Feminine Ideal explores how disparate ideas about bodies, homes, and nature gained expression, most especially in the popular press of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, and it interrogates how these ideas were deployed to foster vigorous health in the service of civility, community, nation, and empire in the UK, USA and Australia.

Looking at a variety of archival material including populist texts such as Isabella Beeton’s The Book of Household Management, diaries, letters, illustrations, advertisements, cartoons, photographs and paintings it illustrates the home and its mistress were key generative ‘spaces’ for the care of populations whose members could be expected to create and maintain the robust communities and nations needed for imperial ambitions of various kinds. Thus, during the decades in question the narratives, discourses, and practices of healthy and natural domesticity were entangled with others equally and intensely biopolitical and governmental. The book interrogates these intricate socio-spatial relationships and their long reach and effect.
Introduction / 1. Her first duty: Natural beauty in the service of a healthy population/ 2. Until the lungs have been emptied: Fitness for race, nation, and empire / 3. The song of the skirt: Dress reform … raw nature, cultured conduct / 4. Good breeding: Combatting the decline of the population / 5. The hand that rocks the cradle: governing the new frontiers of child-rearing / 6. Cleanliness is next to godliness: entrenching the new domestic science / 7. In the fair fresh gardens of home: regulating the health of the domestic and other spheres / Conclusion / Bibliography / Index

Elaine Stratford is Associate Professor of Geography and Environmental Studies at the University of Tasmania.

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