The Female Instructor

Description

The Female Instructor is a conduct manual that promises to teach its reader ‘all the accomplishments’ that will equip her to be a ‘useful member of society – a pleasing and instructive companion or, a respectable mother’ (title page). The first page of the index (p. 5) shows the range of the manual: it encompasses the emotional and the practical, offering advice on ‘Courtship, Love and’ as well as asthma, bread-making and ‘Children, safest method of bringing them up’. Other topics include education (see pp. 18-19, 28-29), etiquette  (see pp. 105-07, 112-15, 166-69), leisure (see pp. 172-79), sensibility (pp. 131-35) and marriage (see pp. 179-88, 266-67).

Religion in The Female Instructor

The work has a strong Christian ethos: in addition to a number of sections specifically about religion, many of the other sections give religious grounds for their instructions. For example, the section entitled 'Liberty and Restraint' advocates the cultivation of a ‘gentle demeanour’ primarily ‘on the principle of obedience to Christ… who, when he proposed himself as a perfect pattern of imitation, [said] “Learn of me, for I am meek and lowly”’ (p. 105).

As well as offering advice, the book contains several biographies of famous and devout women, such as Queen Mary, Lady Jane Grey, philosopher Ann Baynard and the scholar and translator Elizabeth Smith. These women are meant as ‘religious examples’: the writer hopes the stories of their lives will encourage his readers to greater piety and observance (pp. 64-65).

Full title:
The Female Instructor; or, Young Woman's Companion: being a guide to all the accomplishments which adorn the female character, etc.
Published:
estimated 1811, Liverpool, Merseyside
Format:
Book
Creator:
Unknown
Usage terms
Public Domain
Held by
British Library
Shelfmark:
8415.dd.17.

Full catalogue details

Related articles

The middle classes: etiquette and upward mobility

Article by:
Kathryn Hughes
Theme:
The middle classes

Professor Kathryn Hughes describes how the expansion of the middle classes in the 19th century led to a new emphasis on upward mobility, etiquette and conspicuous consumption.

Gender roles in the 19th century

Article by:
Kathryn Hughes
Theme:
Gender and sexuality

From marriage and sexuality to education and rights, Professor Kathryn Hughes looks at attitudes towards gender in 19th-century Britain.

The ball in the novels of Jane Austen

Article by:
John Mullan
Theme:
The novel 1780–1832

Professor John Mullan explores the protocol and the passion of balls in Jane Austen’s novels.

Related collection items

Related works

Emma

Created by: Jane Austen

Jane Austen began writing Emma in 1814 and the novel was published in 1816. The book can be classed as a ...

Pride and Prejudice

Created by: Jane Austen

During 1796–7 young Jane Austen (1775–1817) wrote First Impressions. Her early effort was rejected, but ...