The Women of England

Description

There was much debate in the early 19th century about women’s education, and to what extent it should be based around domestic rather than academic skills. Sarah Stickney Ellis (1799–1872) wrote several books on the subject, arguing that women have a religious duty to bring up the next generation properly, instilling moral values in young people for the benefit of society at large. 

The pages shown here are the opening of The Women of England, published in 1839. Ellis’s other works include The Wives of England, The Daughters of England and The Mothers of England.

Showing a social conservatism characteristic of many writers of the time, Stickney Ellis writes that England’s three-class system is a ‘perfect balance’ in this ‘favoured country’. She celebrates the uniqueness of England’s domestic culture (‘home comforts and fireside virtues’) but has a dim view of young people: ‘the women of England are deteriorating in their moral character’, she laments.

Full title:
The women of England Their social duties, and domestic habits
Published:
estimated 1839, London
Format:
Book
Creator:
Sarah Stickney Ellis
Usage terms
Public Domain
Held by
British Library
Shelfmark:
RB.23.a.2501

Full catalogue details

Related articles

George Eliot's women

Article by:
Kathryn Hughes
Theme:
The novel 1832–1880

Why do so few of George Eliot’s female characters fulfil their potential? Professor Kathryn Hughes considers Eliot’s attitudes towards women’s rights, education and place in society, and how she expresses these in her novels.

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.

Related collection items

Related works

Jane Eyre

Created by: Charlotte Brontë

Charlotte Brontë’s (1816–1855) iconic novel of 1847 is subtitled ‘An Autobiography’. It ...