First edition of this hybrid household manual and Victorian novel with feminist undertones, in which a young housewife learns to trust her instincts and become more independent.
"'Not to be done!' Mrs. Sampson said decidedly in a way that made me resolve to do it without delay."
Annie Thomas was a member of a set of popular women authors in the mid-to-late Victorian period, part of what historian Monica Correa Fryckstedt calls "the female monopoly of the fiction market." Fryckstedt brings attention to Thomas as a writer of "a new race of heroines full of anger, frustration, sexual energy, even revolt," part of an "unexplored mass of Victorian fiction," the examination of which contributes to "a fuller understanding of Victorian taste and morality."
Thomas's main character makes digressions to ponder the injustice of the social stigma incurred by older unmarried women, the unreasonable expectation of lower classes to keep up appearances despite their economic disadvantages, and how often her authority is undermined in favor of her husband's. In some ways, this novel is similar to modern recipe blogs: household advice, etiquette tips, and recipes are woven into a first-person female narrative almost as morals of the story, and as solidarity with fellow home-makers.
OCLC notes five scattered institutional holdings, with only one copy in the US.
Read more: Monica Correa Fryckstedt, "Through the Looking-Glass of Periodicals: A Fresh Perspective on Victorian Fiction."
London and New York: Ward, Lock and Co., [1883?]. Full title: The Modern Housewife; or, How We Live Now. 7.25'' x 4.75''. Original blue pictorial cloth binding stamped in gilt and black. Cream coated endpapers. Illustrated with head- and tailpieces and floriated initials. Publisher's ads at rear. 154,  pages. Two tiny spots of soil to binding, with mildly bumped corners and spine ends. Light foxing to fore-edge. Binding particularly vibrant.
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