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Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Stoicism and the Servant Problem: Philosophy in Nineteenth-Century Domestic Literature
by Baldwin, Martha, Ph.D., University of Kansas, 2019, 194; 13886020
Abstract (Summary)

This project examines nineteenth-century British and American domestic writing. Most studies have viewed domestic writings as sentimental and insignificant. While feminist scholars completing recovery work have argued for the cultural importance of such work, my project goes further by linking domestic literature to Stoic philosophy. I argue that far from being isolated and sentimental works, domestic writings were integrally connected with the intellectual discourse of the period. While Barbara Ryan has rightfully concluded that domestic literature in the United States was informed by debates surrounding chattel slavery, scholars of British servitude have largely overlooked issues of race and slavery, and no scholars have yet explored how nineteenth-century writers engaged with Stoic thought as they attempted to define the ideal servant, including their racial identity. Household manuals, cookbooks, and domestic fictions drew heavily on precepts and passages from Stoic philosophy as they attempted to solve “the servant problem”—the ongoing conflict between employers and servants.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Mielke, Laura
Commitee: Fuller, Randall, Elliott, Dorice, Neill, Anna, Welch, Tara
School: University of Kansas
Department: English
School Location: United States -- Kansas
Source: DAI-A 82/2(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Philosophy, Classical literature
Keywords: Domestic, Labor, Philosophy, Servants, Stoicism, Women
Publication Number: 13886020
ISBN: 9798664746471
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