Gentleman's Daughter : Women's Lives in Georgian England
Amanda Vickery's new book is largely based on several rich collections of women's letters and diaries, most notably those of Elizabeth Parker Shackleton, whose family belonged to the lesser gentry and mercantile elite of Lancashire in the eighteenth century. These women's voices -- in turns passionate, pious, sentimental and sardonic, resentful and resigned -- vividly emerge in Vickery's narrative, who herself writes in a witty and colourful manner. Eighteenth-century women have long been presented as the heroines of traditional biographies, or as the faceless victims of vast historical processes, but rarely have they been deemed worthy of rigorous historical enquiry. Based on a close examination of letters, diaries and account books, this study offers an insight into the intimate and everyday lives of genteel women and transforms our understanding of the position of women in this period.