Cult of True Womanhood

(984 words)
  • Rebecca Saulsbury (Florida Southern College)

Literary/ Cultural Context Essay

The period 1820 to 1870 in the United States was marked by vigorous and widespread debate on woman's roles and her proper vocation. It was also a period that marked the emergence of the woman's rights movement following the Seneca Falls Convention in 1848. In spite of the lack of agreement over what woman's proper role should be, an ideal of True Womanhood or Separate Spheres appears to have been a pervasive paradigm in antebellum America, especially in middle-class New England. Indeed, it seems to have produced a kind of efficient and adaptable .meta-language. by which to describe and interpret women's experience and guide their behaviour, as can be seen in contemporary texts such as novels, treatises, and advice manuals, but also in …

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Saulsbury, Rebecca. "Cult of True Womanhood". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 30 June 2002
[, accessed 29 September 2016.]