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He waited only upon the perfection of the American people which, in turn, depended on the zealous efforts of Christian women see Smith-Rosenberg, Religion; Disorderly Conduct, "Beauty, the Beast and the Militant Woman". The Advocate's format was singular. It differed, not surprisingly, from that of the male secular press, traditionally the voice of vitriolic political faction, and, by the s, sensationalistic in its urban. It provided a poor journalistic model for genteel religious ladies. The Advocate differed as well from standard male evangelical journals.

Sermons and articles filled those male religious pages. Editors and writers instructed their audience. The format was closed, formal, and authoritative. The Advocate's format, in contrast, was open, interactive, and anti-hierarchical. Letters, not articles, dominated its pages. Members queried, challenged, and suggested. Letters from rank-and-file members crowded all but the magazine's front page.

Auxiliaries' reports often took the form of letters to their "sisters" throughout the Society's farflung network; the Society's editorials often assumed an epistolary tone, answering specific letters sent in by members or auxiliaries. Readers members became authors, editors officers their respondent readers. Lines blurred within this expansive frame. Women in the early nineteenth century were not only newly bourgeois, they were also newly literate. The Advocate's existence testified to a striking increase in both formal and functional literacy among American women, a literacy especially noted among women residing in the burgeoning cities and the equally prosperous commercial agricultural areas of the north and west.

Without a classical education, unfamiliar for the most part with the classic Enlightenment canon, they had learned to read in the family Bible and from the evangelical tracts that religious societies distributed broadside throughout New England and along the frontier Davidson. They learned to write as well within this domestic setting through the production and reception of the thousands of letters that formed a frequent and an emotional mode of communication among middleclass women Smith-Rosenberg, Disorderly Conduct, "The Female World of Love and Ritual".

For many of the Society's grassroots members, and perhaps even for its officers and the editors, the Advocate may have constituted only a slightly more formal and public form of correspondence through which they communicated with "sister" readers whom the commercial and industrial revolutions had made both more numerous and more geographically distant.

But Bible reading and letter writing tell only part of the story of women's practical literacy in early nineteenth-century America. These same respectable matrons and their daughters devoured a scandalous number of popular novels and romances. While condemned by the pious, novels and romances provided ideal reading.

Their authors' evangelical commitment legitimated them and their readers; women's novels echoed sentiments first found in religious tracts. Like the tracts and the Advocate, these early novels also spoke directly to their readers, inviting personal identification and involvement, obscuring the line between fact and fiction Davidson. Perhaps the single most striking characteristic of the early woman's novel, however- and what led to attacks upon the propriety of novel reading-was the novel's preoccupation with matters sexual, with seduction, rape, illegitimacy, and prostitution.

By the beginning of the nineteenth century, women's popular fiction had successfully sexualized morality and made the illicit a staple of the bourgeois imagination. The novel, along with religious rhetoric and the experience of letter writing, exerted a major influence upon the form and content of the Advocate, for the Advocate was striking, not only for its participatory format, but also for its overtly sexual content. The American Female Moral Reform Society had two goals which it militantly affirmed in every issue of the Advocate-to end urban prostitution and to enforce within the Christian home a single, female-dominated sexual standard.

Sex-seduction, prostitution, men's ravening passions - provided an unending subject matter for the Advocate's editorials, auxiliary reports, and letters to the editors. The Advocate provided a public arena in which thousands of middle-class religious women, initiated into the discourse of sexuality by the novel and romance, could participate in that discourse even more directly through letters to the editor and the epistolary form of auxiliary reports.

Ironically, the Advocate brought this discourse full circle. What had begun as fiction entered religious and reform rhetoric only to resume a melodramatic form. The Society's members, officers, and editors in issue after issue, repeated one story endlessly, the story of a young girl seduced and abandoned to prostitution, until it became a jointly constructed and highly ritualized sexual melodrama.

Three archetypal figures of strikingly different character and demeanor played the leads in this female constructed melodrama: Unlike the real farms of the time, which depended on male labor and whose male ownership reaffirmed male economic and legal hegemony, the family farm presented in the Society's melodrama consisted almost exclusively of mothers and daughters. Fathers played but a marginal role. Devoid of crass commercial values, devoted to traditional, preindustrial ways, the female family was a utopia of calm and a place of relative sexual safety.

Yet it contained a problematic and vulnerable figure, the adolescent daughter. Women writing in the Advocate, as they had earlier in fiction, described the daughter as "innocent," "obedient," "meek," and "gentle. She was "susceptible to enticements," "a very easy prey" to the seductions of men and the blandishments of the city. The antithesis of the pure and family-rooted daughter, he was urban and sexual.

He existed outside the family. Represented by the society as a merchant or lawyer or an ambitious clerk, he invaded the female family circle, ripping the flower-like daughter from her mother and carrying her off to the city, to poverty and prostitution Advocate 1 []: The young woman's final ruin took place in a town or city governed by commercial values, filled with non-domestic institutions: Where could the lost daughter find succor? Describing them as beyond women's sphere, the Society's narrative presented the city and its institutions as places of absolute sexual powerlessness and danger for the rural daughter and for her female family.

Compare the Society's vision of the different futures that awaited the man and the young woman in the city. The seducer mingles among the crowd, laughs at the opera, shouts in the tavern, rolls in his chariot, appears upon the 'Change, roars over his bottle, reels from the publichouse, or staggers through life Powerless inside the city, women were equally helpless outside the family. The female life cycle ideally incorporated two families- the family of origin and the family of reproduction.

Illicit sex - defined now as sex outside the family-would remove her from both families. It would cast her into a family-less world, into the city, onto the streets. She would be morally and economically ruined. In this the Society's scenario replicated the Cult of True Womanhood's warnings- and also women's real-life experiences. Daughters, in the s and s, had still to move from their father's economic support to that of a husband. But the daughter was not the only endangered figure within the women's melodrama.

The seduction of the daughter, they argued, was inseparable from the destruction of the family. It broke motherdaughter bonds -both those between the seduced woman and her rural mother and those between the seduced woman and her illegitimate daughter. With generations rent asunder, the core was excised from the female family. It stood an empty shell. Women's perception of their vulnerability to male power emerges clearly in the following editorial denunciation of the figurative seducer: You have coolly selected your victim in the bosom of some quiet happy family Count the sum total of all the shame and infamy and ruin and woe which your licentious indulgences occasion to our sex This may be sport to your sex, but it is death, and worse than death, to ours.

Male institutions provided women no shelter; men offered them no quarter. In spite of their grim, indeed, angry tone, the Society's officers and members had constructed their sexual melodrama out of the. Their tale repeated the precepts of the Cult of True Womanhood: In classic bourgeois language they romanticized the country and problematized the city. Did the Society, then, unqualifiably espouse the unitary language of class? If it did, it would have played a central role in what Foucault called the "new technologies of power," for its moral narratives embedded the discourse of class in a highly restrictive sexual code which the Society's officers and members sought to impose upon urban working women and the new young men of the city Foucault, History, pt.

But at one critical point the women's narrative about prostitution diverged from the official narratives of their class - especially those of evangelical Protestantism and the Cult of True Womanhood. To their central moral tale of lust, seduction, and abandonment, the Society appended a narrative of economic exploitation.

Far less frequently, often parenthetically, yet persistently, the Society's New York City based officers and editors told their more rural members the story of New York City's seamstresses. They wrote of long hours of labor, of cold and barren tenements, of the hopelessness of unrelieved poverty. Upon economic description they then imposed a gender and sexual analysis. Male capitalists, they reported, aided by social and sexual proprieties that severely limited the job options of respectable working women, caused this suffering by paying the lowest wages the market would bear. Sadly, ironically, sexual exploitation offered these women their only escape from economic exploitation Advocate 1 []: While still constituting a specifically bourgeois representation of working women's lives, the women's economic narratives went far beyond the standard moral criticism of sex and sin found in male evangelical tracts.

The women condemned wage labor and the putting out system because they were male-dominated and exploited women. In doing so, these bourgeois women demonstrated both a surprisingly detailed and sophisticated knowledge of the new urban economy and a surprising hostility towards bourgeois men. A third story the women told further complicates their roles as spokespersons for their class. The women's first two narratives had told the daughter's story - the fate of young women fallen sexually and economically.

The third told the mother's story. It told of a bitter and rage-filled struggle for power within the bourgeois household. The double standard, the Society's officers and members complained, not only confined bourgeois women within the narrow boundaries of their reproductive family and left lecherous bourgeois men to roam at will; it also empowered men by silencing women. Social proprieties forbade them to recount the exploits of known lechers or to use their knowledge to bar those men from their homes. By banishing the fallen daughter from the bourgeois marriage market, it also decreed who could and who could not claim family membership and class standing.

In one male-directed act, the Society bitterly complained, mothers lost both their daughters and control of their homes. This occurred, the women continued, despite the fact that the Cult of True Womanhood and evangelical Protestantism had named the bourgeois woman Queen of Her Home and made her responsible for the wellbeing of her children Advocate 1 []: Although the double standard constituted the dark logic that enforced the Cult of True Womanhood, its own logic sharply countered the presumptions of two other centrally important components of the bourgeois language of class.

One was evangelical Protestantism.

Lust and promiscuity knew no gender in the eyes of God and of many of his zealous revival ministers. The second challenge came from political ideology. The double standard, as practiced in Europe, presumed the existence of a lower class of sexually available working-class women who stood bond for the sexual safety of bourgeois women. The official rhetoric of the American middle class proclaimed a classless society.

Where then were rapacious men to find available women? Here lay the double standard's Achilles heel. The male-constructed double standard in the s and '40s spoke the politically and ideologically unspeakable - it affirmed and sexualized the urban, industrial class structure. Its political and ideological vulnerability invited the Society's attack. Drawing upon a number of existing male discourses-a Republican condemnation of class, artisanal opposition to the wage-labor system, agrarian suspicion of industrialization, the presumptions of female purity embedded in the Cult of True Womanhood and evangelicalism - the.

The women, that is, took legitimate male discourses and, sexualizing them, constructed a bitter condemnation of the new urban economy. They used the publicly accredited vocabulary of patriotism and morality to describe the dangers that economic change posed to women. In doing so they identified across class lines with working-class women and attacked their same-class men. They espoused a mediated sense of class Pocock, sec. Their fight for the morality of working women constituted only half their battle.

Bourgeois women sought first and foremost to establish their own control over the bourgeois home and bourgeois sexual standards. They attempted to do so on a practical level by barring known lechers from their homes or from employment in shops they frequented. They sought, as well, to exclude the sexually active man from their respectable world conceptually and linguistically. Depicting him as inhuman and unnatural, their rhetoric placed him outside human society and the realm of reason. By defying family order, beyond female control, the women argued, the seducer had crossed the boundary between the human and the inhuman.

They described him as an "animal," a "wild beast," a "master demon. The Female Moral Reform Society women had seized the fundamental male prerogative of naming and defining. They thus challenged middle-class men's right to control the unitary language of their class - as well as the membership of the bourgeois household. The Society's rhetoric not only un-manned the lecher. It endowed women with traditionally masculine attributes and powers. Organization, knowledge, determination, the Society urged time and again, must replace feminine dependence, docility, and silence.

We must expose it. Man, as a result, had become "harmless as the passing breeze. They wrestle not with flesh and blood, but against principalities and powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness 'in high places' The cause requires, and must have combined moral power - a holy alliance of principle - sanctified virtue moving forward in solid phalanx to the conflict" Advocate 1 []: In this war between the sexes, the Society's editors and members had forged a female sword-and a female penempowering bourgeois women as Christian warriors - and as Christian law givers.

So armed, they battled men for the right to be the boundary surveyors and the gatekeepers of the bourgeois familyand beyond that, of the bourgeois class itself. Word by word, character trait by character trait, Society officers and members mis-read and re-presented the male discourses of their class: Within male Jacksonian political narratives, "The Common Man," powerful, self-determined, loosed from family ties, was a heroic figure. In the women's narrative, he emerged as "loose" and "common," indeed, the habitue of brothels, the exploiter of poor women Ward.

In contrast, "The Fallen Woman" in male narratives, the monstrous polluter of young men emerged in the female text as the muchloved daughter, rescued by modern Demeters from an urban underground. To the male authors of "The Cult of True Womanhood," "Female Piety" had implied the quiet ways of the Christian nursery, submission, obedience.

To these bourgeois women, frequently revival converts, it meant millennial zeal and new militant roles. When these women spoke the words of "True Womanhood," those words no longer rationalized a male-constructed gender and class system. They became a forceful condemnation of that system. The Society's officers and members lived within a cultural milieu that permitted them to use millennial zeal to discuss and to criticize men's passionate sexual acts but not men's dispassionate economic practices or the impact those practices had upon working-class and middle-class women.

By transposing the body politic and economic metaphorically into the sexual body in their melodrama of seduction and abandonment, these women created a complex metaphoric structure through which they could give affective expression to their distinctly female experiences of social change and class relationships. Within their melodrama, members and officers made commercialized sex and the city symbols for commercialization; male sexual power, a representation of male economic power; the impoverished and powerless prostitute, a metaphor for all women's vulnerability within a capitalist economy; the daughter penetrated, the defenselessness of the female family in that commercial world; the edenic and female countryside, a symbol for the safety women had experienced within a pre-industrial society, and a privileging of traditional, agriculturally-based "Virtue.

It bespoke middle-class women's identification with working-class women, an identification that had no true parallel in male bourgeois discussions of working-class men because it was based on middle-class women's sense of their own marginality within male economic structures. The wage economy endangered all women. A husband's bankruptcy or death would render the bourgeois matron as economically vulnerable as any poor seamstress. Yet by naming the prostitute "daughter" and thus embedding her in a family hierarchy rather than "sister" a cate.

These middle-class women had not taken the more radical step of transforming their criticism of man's power to exploit women sexually and economically into a fundamental critique of class relations, a critique the term "sister" would have implied. Their sexual melodrama continued to assert the power of middle-class "mothers" over working-class "daughters. They did not deny hierarchy; they sought rather to renegotiate their own place within it Rubin.

II We have examined the Society's narrative from two different analytic perspectives - as a female mis-reading and re-presenting of the dominant male discourses of their class and as a metaphoric expression of women's experience of economic and social conflict. We must read it from yet a third perspective - as a mis-remembering of earlier texts. To understand these women's vision of themselves, of working-class women, and of bourgeois men, we must read their melodramatic tales as elaborate mis-readings and misrememberings of earlier stories of seduction and abandonmentespecially those of Samuel Richardson.

In both novels, the virtuous young woman is cut loose from the protection of family and friends. Finally, problematizing both class and the family, these novels privileged the woman as writer and the empowering nature of her words. Yet, despite these parallels to the Female Moral Reform Society's narrative, they represent the world as seen by a middle-class Englishman. No direct reference to Richardson's influence can be found on the pages of the Advocate. The line between Richardson's two sophisticated canonical novels and the sexual rhetoric of a provincial group of women religious reformers almost a century later and an ocean apart was neither direct nor self-conscious.

It required at least one mediating group of writers, American women novelists, who produced over novels and a host of short stories between the s. Quite overtly referring to Richardson's novels and to each other's, they were a small but self-conscious world of early bourgeois writers and readers. Let me clarify my argument by examining several central themes in Pamela and Clarissa that were then taken up and transformed by American women novelists.

Both Pamela and Clarissa graphically depict the dangers that beset a young woman outside the Christian family Hill; Eagleton; Castle; Goldberg. Pamela, as a domestic servant, beyond her parents' protection, is continually vulnerable to Mr. B's physical attacks, threats of dismissal with bad references, power to have her arrested on false charges of theft. Richardson, the bourgeois master printer, son of a Derbyshire joiner, in his novel of social realism, graphically details the actual dangers real servant women faced.

Only Pamela's piety, and a few well-timed hysterical seizures, save her. Clarissa, in her turn, demonstrates that class and status no longer adhere protectively to a woman once she leaves the governance of her family. Having refused her family's demands that she marry contrary to her inclination, Clarissa wanders unprotected in a rapacious world.

As in the Female Moral Reform Society's melodrama, the only shelters available to her are the brothel and the grave. Women can find no safety outside the family, yet the family itself has become highly problematic. While Pamela finds sexual safety and economic security only when marriage reincorporates her into her family, it is not the family that saves Pamela her parents are impotent in the face of Mr. B's wealth and status; Mr. B's family initially denounces her marriage , but rather Pamela's and Mr.

B's rejection of family norms and their assertion of individualistic, romantic values. Indeed, the family does not transform Pamela; instead Pamela, as the upwardly mobile individual, transforms the family, making both her parents' family and Mr. B's family middle class. Richardson thus uses Pamela to replace the pre-bourgeois vision of a timeless, unalterable family order and of the child invested in the ascribed status of her family, with the middle-class dream of a family's upward mobility secured through a child's education, talent, and good fortune. Just as Pamela never goes home again to her parents' poor cottage, a person, transformed into an individual by the new commercial economy, could no longer return to the family -unless she transforms it in its turn.

Richardson's vision of class distinctions is as ambivalent and complex as his vision. Her position epitomizes that of the new, upwardly mobile middle class - a class so mediated in its identity that its name refers only to its location between, i. Richardson gives the poor servant Pamela endless cause to castigate aristocratic arrogance. He permits her to do so, however, only at that point in the novel when, Mr.

It is at this moment that she most represents the middle class. And it is at this point in the novel that Richardson finally permits Pamela to express her rage at the entire class structure. Reflecting upon Lady Davers' letter to Mr. B condemning her proposed marriage to Pamela, she writes her parents: Richardson underscores the anxieties and uncertainties of class identity at this early stage in bourgeois class formation by having Pamela end with the lament: The Harlowes represent bourgeois mores unredeemed by Christian virtue.

They are rapacious and tyrannical; without education or morality, they repudiate all responsibility to a larger Christian community. Clarissa, the pure woman, representing the spirit of piety, struggles in a rapacious economic world - the Harlowe family estate. Yet salvation does not lie in flight from the unredeemed bourgeois world back-or up-to the aristocratic world represented by Lovelace and his family. It lies rather in the individual Christian's reassertion of her beliefs and values - even if this leads to a death modeled on Christ's.

If Pamela subverts family structures, Clarissa openly challenges them. In Clarissa, the failed family is unable to value its most noble member or to balance the need for familial order and loyalty with the legitimate rights of the individ. Clarissa, like Lear, is a tragedy of the failed family in a familygoverned world.

And more, it mourns the lost potential of the individual to transform the family by herself. Yet another theme ties together Richardson's metaphoric expressions of class anxieties and connects his vision with that of the women reformers who lived almost a century later and 3, miles away. This was his depiction of the power of women's words.

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Pamela and Clarissa are perhaps the two best known epistolary novels in the English language. We know Pamela only through her own words. Her words, in fact, constitute her only source of power and social significance. Clarissa is also known by and for her words - indeed, how else can she be known, sequestered as she is in her parents' home, in Lovelace's cruel refuge, finally, scribbling away upon her casket?

Richardson used the persona of the female letter writer in a world where men of landed wealth monopolized power to symbolize the vulnerability-but, ultimately, the power- of the middle-class professional male writer in that world. The power unprincipled men of landed wealth exercised in eighteenth-century England, after all, imperiled the virtue of pious middle-class male authors as well as of religious servant girls. A leading warrior in the bourgeoisie's battle for cultural hegemony, Richardson spent his life painstakingly constructing and impressing his class's new morality, language, etiquette, even literary forms upon British culture.

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He did so as the political publisher for the Walpole government and as the official printer for the House of Commons, the Royal Society, and the Society for the Encouragement of Learning. But it was through Pamela and Clarissa, his novels of abduction and sexual oppression, that his bourgeois mentalite conquered the minds and hearts of his fellow Englishmen - and women. Far more than novels, Pamela and Clarissa were cultural productions. When Pamela married, church bells rang in small English villages. When Clarissa died, the nation mourned. Plays and other popular publications brought Richardson's heroines to the mass public Eagleton, Introduction.

But Pamela and Clarissa constituted elaborate metaphors. As constructed by Richardson, these vulnerable women, empowered by words and piety, symbolized the individual bourgeois man at war with the old aristocratic social systems symbolized by Mr. B and Lovelace seeking to affirm a new evangelical understanding of civil. Significantly his female readers misread Richardson's metaphor and in the process transformed Pamela and Clarissa into new female bourgeois symbols.

They erred in reading Richardson's metaphors literally. They identified with Pamela and Clarissa not as male-constructed symbols of bourgeois individualism ultimately empowered through words but as symbols of woman's powerlessness and her ultimate victimization. They then took Richardson's displacements, the sexually vulnerable women, invested with all the fears and identifications Richardson's novels had inspired, and projected onto them their own particular female and American experiences of class and family.

Some of American women's novels foreshadowed the Female Moral Reform Society's narrative with eerie precision-forming a bridge between Richardson's vision and that of Jacksonian women. Manvill's epistolary novel, Lucinda the Mountain Mourner. Like Pamela's, Lucinda's parents are impoverished farmers living on the margins of their world. Like Pamela, Lucinda leaves home to seek employment so as not to burden her parents financially.

Like Pamela, she refuses illicit sexual advances. Like Clarissa, she is raped. Unlike Clarissa, however, she forgives her rapist and lives with him. B, the rapist does not marry her. Indeed, it is the rapist, ironically named Mr. Brown, that makes Lucinda an American, not a British, novel.

Brown is not a man of landed wealth like Mr. B or Lovelace , but that classic American figure- the poor, upwardly mobile young man. He courts Lucinda because her uncle is an established farmer in his community. His rape may simply have constituted an aggressive version of the common agrarian practice of sex after betrothal. Brown meets a woman far wealthier than Lucinda, a merchant's daughter from town. He abandons Lucinda in hopes of a better marriage, explaining to Lucinda's aunt that he is rising in the world and Lucinda is not genteel enough.

Lucinda, pregnant, returns penitent to her parents' farm where she dies surrounded by a loving female family. Her mother and aunt pledge to warn other young women of the dangers male sexuality poses for young women outside the family. Lucinda is a particularly transparent rendition of the bourgeois myth.

The prototype of the Female Moral Reform Society narrative, Lucinda is Pamela misprisioned to represent the experiences of rural Americans just at that moment when the commercial and urban revolution led rural sons and daughters into the towns. Most early nineteenth-century American women novelists seem not to have been provincial rural women as Lucinda's author, Mrs.

Manvill, presents herself , but well-educated, well-to-do urban women. Individual entrepreneurs, they must negotiate the treacherous waters of the marriage market. Here they seek to exchange their chastity, beauty, talents, and gentility for the economic security of a "successful marriage. The family rarely helps its daughters on the pages of these women's novels. The families represented in these narratives are either poor or dead the number of orphans in this literature is phenomenal.

Alternatively, like the Harlowes or Lady Davers, they espouse false materialistic values and urge their daughters to exchange sex and happiness for fashion and social position. The failed family characteristically creates the problems the daughter, the unaided individualist, must then solve before the novel can end. In the process of solving these problems, the daughter and her author experiment with constituting a new bourgeois identity, an identity that distinguishes the American middle class from the European aristocracy on the one hand and the older American agrarian and artisan cultures on the other.

For these writers, as for the Female Moral Reform Society, the borders of class and nationality remain - like the points of entrance and exit of sexuality - problematic. Let me summarize this argument. Richardson wrote as a man of his class and time. During the s and early s, American women novelists, as women and as bourgeois Americans, misprisioned Richardson's novels of bourgeois class anxiety.

In the process they developed a unique voice- that of the American bourgeoisie. They then embedded that voice within the early American novel of social realism. Half a century later, more provincial American women, situated at the cutting edge of early American industrialization, far more likely to have read Charlotte Temple than Pamela, in their turn misprisioned these women's novels, mis-heard that female voice and so mis-remembered Richardson.

In that process they constructed a still newer American bourgeois narrative. A Theory of Poetry, and of J. Pocock's The Machiavellian Moment: I would also like to thank Mary Poovey for suggestions she has made about perception as a social phenomenon and for her discussions of the "New Historicism. The Advocate contained innumerable letters and editorials on this theme. See, for example, Advocate 1 Bakhtin, in "Discourse in the Novel" in his Dialogic Imagination, suggests that during times of rapid social transformation social dialects will proliferate until the very meaning of words becomes problematic.

For a fuller discussion of their social backgrounds, see Davidson. Capitalism and a New Social Order: The Republican Vision of the s. New York University Press, Caryl Emerson and Michael Holquist. University of Texas Press, The Anxiety of Influence. A Theory of Poetry. Oxford University Press, A Map of Misreading. Meaning and Disruption in Richardson's Clarissa.

Cornell University Press, Constantia [Judith Sargent Murray]. Revolution and the Word. The Rise of the Novel in America. The Rape of Clarissa. Archeology of Knowledge and the Discourse of Language. The History of Sexuality, Volume I: Women in Richardson and Diderot. Cambridge University Press, A Lady of Massachusetts [Hannah Foster]. The Coquette; or the History of Eliza Wharton. A Lady of Philadelphia [Rebecca Rush]. Lucinda, or the Mountain Mourner. Princeton University Press, The History of Clarissa Harlowe.

Pamela, or Virtue Rewarded. Notes on the 'Political Economy' of Sex. Monthly Review Press, Visions of Gender in Victorian America. Religion and the Rise of the American City. Symbol of an Age. Literary Form and Historical Understanding. Canary and Henry Kozicki. University of Wisconsin Press, Essays in Cultural Criticism. Johns Hopkins University Press, I took a deep breath of the sour air And made myself climb the old steps Of my shrunken high school.

I never knew So many decayed warehouses stood near, Trainyards, doughnut shops, and rusted cranes. I pushed open the heavy double doors Hoping for dizziness, a rush of memory To make the tiles in the hallway disappear Until I saw the past, which must exist Inside the buried chambers of my brain Like a city covered by volcanic ash. But I felt nothing. I looked at wooden chairs, Buzzing lights, the auditorium curtain Embroidered with a gold Latin motto.

It was all there, and yet it wasn't there. I'd only read about a girl in books Who used to stand before a cracked blackboard Trying to conjugate laudo, laudamus. I walked into the first empty classroom, Looked down the rows of desks, out the window At the changing autumn sky. An overpass Crossed the freeway only a block awayThe Voyageur Motel had disappeared. I stared where it wasn't.

I saw it still, The oily gravel lot filled with cars From other states, and the wrought iron balcony Along its second story where the maids Pushed laundry carts. I used to wait for the bus Why should I see the past? I'd never lived in this gloomy city Of breweries, factories, failing grocery stores.

I'd been a voyager across the plains And spent my childhood in a golden city Of invisible steeples, palaces of cloud. Each night she goes To practice in the auditorium. I watch her mother take the last picture, Then restless, my head aching, go upstairs To find my photo album. The pages crack As I look for photographs I took at nine With my birthday present, a square Brownie, And glued into this album years ago. I find my best friend posed on the sidewalk In her leotard, holding her baby brother. Behind her, a woman younger than me now Stands smoothing her blond page boy with one hand.

My friend's mother drove us to dance on Fridays And waited with the other mothers on chairs While we tried to lift our legs, move gracefully. We bent and stretched. The mothers smoked, gossiped. Some had their hair in pincurls, others rollers. The mirror made them seem so far away: The shiny dance floor was a lake between us And we were swans, drifting away from them.

We didn't need their clumsy hand-clapping, Thoughtless praise of awkward pirouettes. I used to look across illusory water Wishing I could reach the vaporous shore I moved toward as I danced, longing, dizzy. Sweat filled my eyes. But just as I climbed up Through quivering rushes on the distant side And glimpsed the peaks, and spires, and domes of that Perfected country, the piano stopped: We heard the tap dance class lining up For their turn, clicking their steel toes. I felt strange in the back seat going home Breathing the smoke of Luckies, idly rubbing My sore muscles as Elvis Presley sang About the future when I'd dance with men.

My eyes still hurt from the glare, my head from beer drunk down too fast as bells rang across the lake at Kloster Andechs, where I asked and asked what do I want to forget and answered what do I not. As a child I was never allowed to say I hate, but in this place for the first time, a guest of history, I have never felt so close to the war I was born in.

I have stood in the light on white gravel laid down fresh between railroad ties. I have gone to see where grief is honored, perfect and still, mute outrage.

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All day I have remembered mythsthe cycles of rape and return and renewal. Now quiet, I walk back to the house where I'm a guest and wait. Supper is planned, a picnic in the orchard. Inside an ordinary oven bread bakes. The lull of family life muses on, children upstairs asleep with their mother, their father driving off to gather his parents for the evening. I arrange my mood with wine as the wildflowers droop on their stalks, as words I have promised not to speak reach into the blind side of my brain and root. The myth returns, the children vanish.

The sun burns down. Then, dark in the orchard. By this time I had intended to be drunk. I close my eyes, look inward, see steadily and whole the bowl of purple plums on the table and this child with dark dancing eyes. She sits down in the crook of her grandfather's arm, looking into his face with delightand why not? Why not, I think. His face is the face she has known from her birth, a face that teases her with plums and kisses, this man shot down in the war I was born in, his face a mask of firescarslick, blank, lidless - this man I find less hard to forgive than I find myself, or her.

As she chewed gum and let slide by the conveyer belt of balancing rocks, wayside halts where black children waved, grazing buck sloping away to the horizon in a blast of fear set in motion by the passing train, she threw Pam up to the rack with her school panama and took on Hillela.

The brown stockings collapsed down her legs, making fine hairs prickle pleasurably. She would dig sandals and a dress out of her suitcase and change without concern for the presence of other women in the compartment. She was going, each time, to her aunt, one of her mother's sisters, in whose home she was given every advantage.

She was coming from the Rhodesian girls' school to which, she would say when asked why she didn't go to school in South Africa, she was sent because her father had grown up in Salisbury. She was not the only child whose parents were divorced or parted or whatever it was they were. But she was the only Hillela among Susans and Clares and Fionas. What sort of a name was that? Didn't know, couldn't tell them. What she did tell them, without a moment's hesitation, was that anyway she was always called by her second name, Pamela.

No one remarked when she went with the other Pams, Susans, Clares and Fionas to the Anglican Church on Sundays, although in her school record "religious faith" was filled in as Jewish. Olga met her at the station. By , it was at the airport; Olga must have told her father it was ridiculous to subject her to that twoday hot and tedious train trip. Or maybe Olga paid for the air ticket; she was generous: There were some things that were hers: Her absence was more permanent than her presence; there was always also the sign of some other occupancy of the room.

Olga stored out-of-season clothes in the cupboards; other guests who slept in the pretty bed forgot things; books Olga didn't want on display downstairs but didn't want to throw away made a jumble-sale assortment on the bookshelf. One holiday, a photograph of the girl's mother in a Victorian plush-and-silver frame stood beside the Liquorice All-sorts. The face was composed in a way the child had never seen: The shape was not disturbed by a smile. The eyes were the only feature that matched any living reality; they were the eyes of a woman seeing herself in a mirror.

Her mother ended at the shoulders. They were squared in a jacket with shoulder tabs and revers. That's what we wore, in the Forties. The last word in fashion. That jacket was dark red -I remember it as if it were in front of me. And see the earrings. She would have her ears pierced. We thought it old-fashioned or common: But Ruth paid Martha to do hers. That was our old nannie, she still used to come, when we were quite grown up, to help with the washing. Ruth sat down to the table one lunch-time with cotton threads hanging through little crusts of blood on her ears.

We squealed and made a fuss It was about this time that Olga would take her eldest son, Clive, and Hillela to art exhibitions. Hillela did not come out with anything else that amused Olga. Isn't that an enchanting little frame I found - It was standing there in its place on the bedside table after the girl left, and was there when she came back each time for other holidays. Her mother was not dead. She lived in Mozambique and never visited.

The child had asked questions once or twice, when she was young enough to believe adults gave you answers worth hearing, and had been given an oblique reply. Her father said her mother had "made another life. Her mother lived with "another man. Len was a rep. A title of profession, to her, like doctor or professor, although she found she had to explain to other girls that this meant he represented firms that sold hotel lines.

And what were "lines"? Really-was there anything those kids did know? Different kinds of things that hotels and restaurants need. Breadcutters, food-warmers, slicers, trays, fish-fryers, even plastic flowers, mirrors, pictures for decoration. There had been a time, she must have been very small, when she had played and slept and eaten beside him in his big car with all the boxes of samples, catalogues and order-books piled up in the back.

He had made her a nest in there, on rugs stained with cold drinks and icecream she spilt. He bought her sweet orange-coloured drinks. He washed her panties in the hotel basins while she fell asleep watching him. But you were only three or four. On summer mornings she oiled herself, spreading her toes to get at the interstices and twisting her neck, over which a string of pearls bobbled, like a cat grooming itself in the sun, while the four youngsters played waterpolo in the pool.

When they came out to dry off and her attention slid from her Vogue or Hebrew grammar, there were those interludes of shared physical well-being that melt the inhibitions between generations. Of course Len was speaking Afrikaans, and the native boy whatever his language was.

So English was ours, Len's and mine. I'm sure I thought only we could talk it! And the hotel owners once gave me an Alice band for my hair, it had Minnie Mouse on it. Three or four, that's all. For a little while. It was before he went back to Rhodesia. His face appealed to his mother. She acknowledged him with a charming tilt of the head. Jethro came across the lawn that day carrying a tray of fruit juice and hot scones. His waiter's flat feet and the rubber soles of his blancoed takkies on the dense clipped grass gave him an endearing bouncing gait.

The girl broke the water, having won by the length of an outstretched hand a race against the boys. It seemed she emerged to him. Jethro's home was in Rhodesia and every time she returned from school she had the aura of an emissary. Through water-matted lashes she saw the face magnified like that of some dark friendly creature bumped against in the deep. Blew her nose in her fingers, and Olga's forehead flickered a frown. We beat Marandellas and Gwelo last term. You not going to Bulawayo? It means so much to him. He thinks of you children as his own. Ruth in Lourengo Marques somewhere,.

At nine or ten the salon - as it was referred to by the man who did Olga's hair -with its chemical garden-sweetness and buzz of warm air from the dryers, fuzz of sheddings furring the floor, made the child drowse off as a little animal curls up, recognizing a place of safety.

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All was comfortably ritualistic, pampered, sheltered in the ideal of femininity constructed by the women entrapped there. Olga gave her money to go out and buy sweets; she tripped back quietly happy in anticipation of the soothing, sucking comfort to come as she lolled, humming or whispering to herself in the company of ladies deaf within their second, steel crania. Fashions changed; she was older.

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Beside her, Olga's hair, pulled with a crochet hook through holes in a rubber cap, was being tinted in streaks while her nails were steeping in tepid oil. Olga was still learning Hebrew made fun of her attempts to speak it on her visits to Israel but instead of her grammar was now reading a manual about isometric exercise a friend had brought from New York; every now and then her concentration and the pressure of her elbows against the frame of the chair she occupied, the empty shape of her shantung trousers she had brought back a pair from Hong Kong for Hillela, too as she pulled in abdominal muscles stiffly as a drawn bolt, showed she was putting theory into practice.

It was the time when beautiful girls, by definition, had hair as long and straight as possible. When Olga and her sisters were adolescent, on the contrary, curls had been necessary, and they had suffered the processes that produced them. Hillela had curly hair like her father, but of course she would want to look like everybody else; boys instinctively are attracted to what they don't even know is the fashionable style of beauty.

Olga was paying for Hillela's hair to be heated and ironed straight. Hillela no longer falls asleep at the hairdresser's. A jaw with a well-turned angle on either side, a slightly prognathous mouth and the full lips that cover, with a tender twitch, the barely uneven front tooth; it has defied an orthodontist who made conform perfectly the smiles of Clive, Mark and Brian. The cheekbones lift against the eyes at the outer corners, underlining them aslant. All right so far. But it's difficult to meet the eyes.

They are darkness; there is a film to it like the film of colours that swims on a puddle of dark oil spilled on the earth at a garage. They react under their own regard as under an oculist's light; but doubly: Nothing can be more exact than an image perceived by itself. The face is small and thin for the depth from the cup at the base of the collarbones to the wide-set breasts.

In the trance of women gazing at themselves in the mirrors they face, she is seeing herself. The mirror ends her there. On Saturday afternoons when there were no sports meetings the songololo made its way to one of the parks in the city of Salisbury. In traditional school terminology the procession of girls in double file was known as a crocodile, but the boys of their counterpart school dubbed them collectively by the African name for the large earthworm in its shiny hoops of articulated mail that is part of the infant vocabulary of every white child in Southern Africa, even if the child never learns another word of an African language.

The boys' image was based on accurate observation. The brown stockings the girls wore gave their troop the innumerable brown legs on which the songololo makes its undulating way round obstacles. So it was the girls flowed round people on the pavements, and over pedestrian crossings. In the park the image broke up joyfully the littlest girls , cautiously the solemn, hand-holding ten-year-olds, subdued to discipline , slyly the adolescents skilled in undetectable insubordination.

The first stage on the escape route was the public lavatories. Miss Hurst, we have to go. The teacher who accompanied the songololo sat on a bench and read, looking up now and then to enjoy the luxury of huge shade under a mnondo tree that came down over her like a Victorian glass bell. She was the only one who saw the gigantesque beauty of the park, in one season its storm clouds of purple jacaranda, in another the violent flamboyants flashing bloodily under the sun, or the tulip-trees and bauhinias that in their time shimmered, their supporting skeleton of trunks and branches entirely swarmed over, become shapes composed of petals alive with bees as a corpse comes alive with maggots.

The adolescents were excited by the humus smells, the dripping scents of unfolding, sporebearing, dying vegetation in clumps and groves of palms, manhigh ferns and stifling creepers where the sun had no power of entry and leaves transformed themselves into the pale sticky cobra-heads of some sort of lily. The dankness sent the girls off giggling urgently to that other dankness, of Whites Only, Ladies, Men, housed separately from Nannies-for the black nursemaids sent to air white. When the girls at last came out of Ladies the boys from the counterpart school were already emerged from Men, and pretending not to be waiting for them.

Disappearing into the fecundity of municipal jungles, there the girls wore the boys' cheesecutters, wrestled in amorous quarrelsomeness, smoked, throwing the forbidden cigarette pack in forbidden pollution into the gloomy, overhung ponds, swatted mosquitoes on one another as an excuse for fondling, and - one or two who were known to be "experienced" - managed to find a spidery hideout to vrey.

Like songololo, a Zulu word foreign to English speakers, this Afrikaans one was used by every English-speaking adolescent. To vrey was to excite each other further; sexually, with kisses and limited intimacies. There were indiscretions less private than vreying. Dares, too, provided heightened excitement.

To those who have eyes to see, they are clearly visible. Scratch a Japanese of the most advanced ideas, and he will show a samurai … the summons of the present is to guard this heritage. As I have suggested, the presence of archaic rituals and swordplay during the first part of the film evokes a broader American discourse about martial arts, bushido and samurai values. The hero's participation in a decidedly modern war effort when the film moves out of Japan to the combat zone — and, in particular, the film's final image — likewise connects to a much more expansive discourse, in this case involving not the Japanese soldier per se, but the sophisticated Japanese military machine, designed and equipped for twentieth-century combat.

The relevant early s material on what I will call the Japanese war machine is vast, encompassing print journalism, postcards, stereopticon slides and stereoview cards. One prominent source for information and images was Collier's Magazine , a high-circulation, general-interest weekly that featured reports from the front and in-depth photographic coverage in virtually every issue during the Russo-Japanese War.

While the war was still in progress, Collier's rushed into print its folio-sized The Russo-Japanese War: The first of Collier's volumes on the war begins with a set of images notably absent from The Hero of Liao-Yang: Notwithstanding these photographs of the top brass, Collier's Russo-Japanese War does not primarily focus on high-ranking officers or, for that matter, on heroic soldiers.

Image after image corroborates what the written text explicitly declares, demonstrating that the Japanese forces are vastly superior to their Russian opponents: Collier's vision of the Japanese war effort is echoed across a number of other books, like B. The majority of Collier's images document this Japanese military machine in relentless operation, moving men and supplies, occupying territory, maintaining all-important lines of communication, caring for casualties, conducting funeral rites, constructing bridges and making effective use of Korean labour.

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With only a handful of performers allotted to each image and no diegetic explanation of Japanese military strategy, The Hero of Liao-Yang evokes none of the mechanistic efficiency and grand systemic order that Collier's sees in the Japanese war effort. Instead, the film's figuration of Japan's twentieth-century-styled military power comes from its concluding image of an extended artillery barrage, which fills the frame with smoke. Lacking the deep-focus clarity of Collier's photographs, the final image of The Hero of Liao-Yang could be taken to signify the technological might of the New Japan, even as this image hints — perhaps unintentionally — at the impossibility of visualizing modern warfare.

Turning on the Biograph leads ultimately to a smoke-filled screen in which the visible markers of traditional Japanese masculinity, so strikingly evident in the first half of the film, have disappeared or been subsumed by the powerful munitions of the New Japan. While Biograph's hero of Liao-Yang proves to be adept with a revolver in a shoot-out that closely resembles scenes from other period films, like The Moonshiner and even The Great Train Robbery [] , he has no wartime need for the samurai sword or cutlass that figure so centrally as cultural props on the home front.

What he absolutely requires, however, is the assistance of a Chinese coolie to help him pull off his escape from the obtuse Russians, who always seem to outnumber him. Rising after being buried alive is an ingenious ploy — a piece of Orientalized magic and adventure story pluck.

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At the same time, this escape allegorizes rather transparently one view of Asian geopolitics: Japan, with the necessary assistance of China, remains more than a match for Russia. The implications of this superiority on the battlefield and this intra-Asian collaboration haunt much of the Russo-Japanese War discourse, including, but not limited to, abiding anxieties in the Euro-American West concerning the Yellow Peril's looming threat. Surveying the prospect of impending combat in the fall of , correspondent David Fraser pondered the future: But within range of sight they lay to the number of well nigh half a million men — some busy at their guns, others marching into position, many at their stations.

The magnitude, the significance of the issues which this scene suggested, almost paralyzed the mind. The concentrated energy of two great races was here collected to contend, the one part against the other, for supremacy. At stake was the destiny of the Orient. Syndicated cartoon, originally in Cleveland Leader May Yet through the sacrifices of its heroes, New Japan gained territory and international stature, and much of the highly topical material I have referred to in this article — from stereoview images to juvenile fiction — suggests that armed and assertive Japanese masculinity was not simply newsworthy for American audiences, but admirable in death as in life.

Thus, without ever actually witnessing any combat during his months as a war correspondent, John Fox Jr still felt bound to confess that as far as I can make out at long distance, the Japanese army and the individual Japanese soldier seem the best in the world; the soldier for the reason that he cares no more for death than the average Occidental for an afternoon nap — the army for the reason that the Buschido [sic] spirit — feudal fealty — having been transferred from Daimio and Samurai to Colonel and General — gives it a discipline that seems perfect.

Although Fox never succeeds in coming face-to-face with Japanese masculinity, as he ventures into Asia, looking futilely for his own hero of Liao-Yang, one sight in particular sticks with him, making him shudder with a deep recognition of the stakes of the Russo-Japanese War: We had a shock and a thrill to-day … a few carts filled with wounded Japanese passed slowly by.

In one cart sat a man in a red shirt, with a white handkerchief tied over his head and under his chin. Facing him was a bearded Japanese with a musket between his knees. The man in the red shirt wearily turned his face. It was young, smooth-shaven and white. The thrill was that the man was the first Russian prisoner we had seen — the shock that among those yellow faces was a captive with a skin like ours. I couldn't help feeling pity and shame — pity for him and a shame for myself that I needn't explain … Blood is thicker than water — or anything else — in the end.

The Hero of Liao-Yang — with its own share of Japanophilia — contains no such visual and visceral moment of race awareness, when a glimpse of whiteness throws all else into perspective. I doubt that it would have been possible, under any screening conditions, to see an unbridgeable racial gulf between yellow and white registered this tangibly in The Hero of Liao-Yang. So we are left with two apparently contradictory possibilities: Attempting to identify, contextualize and interpret the topicality of The Hero of Liao-Yang requires that we explore the rich, varied, pervasive and historically specific discourse in the USA concerning the Russo-Japanese War in particular and Japanese masculinity more generally.

Working through such texts we can map a network of interconnected concerns that help to explain the early twentieth-century USA's heightened interest in the New Japan: The conjunction of these concerns can vary significantly from text to text, even month to month, reflecting the vagaries of topicality and the complexity of issues at stake when Japan loomed large for American audiences. An awareness of this cultural history helps us recognize and explain the particular evocation of Japaneseness, the absence of colour as racial marker and the journey of heroic Japanese masculinity from home front to smoke-filled battlefield in The Hero of Liao-Yang.

This essay is part of a larger project, Japan-in-America: The Turn of the Twentieth Century , which also involves a museum exhibit and website www. For many careful readings as this essay took shape, thanks especially to Brenda Weber. Oxford University Press is a department of the University of Oxford. It furthers the University's objective of excellence in research, scholarship, and education by publishing worldwide. Sign In or Create an Account. Close mobile search navigation Article navigation.

Narrating the new Japan: Screen , Volume 47, Issue 1, 1 January , Pages 43—65, https: View large Download slide. University of California Press, ; Daniel Bernardi ed. Race and the Emergence of U. Cinema New Brunswick, NJ: Duke University Press, ; Robert G. Princeton University Press, Scribner's, , p. It is worth noting that Japan actively attempted to influence American perceptions of the war. See, for example, Robert B. Houghton Mifflin, ; B. The Russo-Japanese Conflict London: Longman, ; J. Westwood, Russia against Japan, — Routledge, ; Thomas J.

Rimer, A Hidden Fire: Palmer, With Kuroki in Manchuria , p. Paul Virilio, War and Cinema: The Logistics of Perception London: Verso, , p. In fact, Virilio's account of modern warfare begins with the searchlights used in the siege of Port Arthur during the Russo-Japanese War p. Scribner's, , pp. Thus the Cleveland Leader could write on 25 December Ziegler Company, , p. Locare Research Group, , p. Andre Gaudreault, Cinema — FIAF, , pp. University of California Press, , p. Indiana University Press, ], pp. The fullest accounts in English of the role and reception of war footage in Japan are offered by Peter B.

High, The Imperial Screen: University of Wisconsin Press, , pp. MFA Publications, , pp. Princeton University Press, , pp. Niver and Bergsten, Biograph Bulletins , p. In his authoritative Edison filmography, Edison Motion Pictures, — Smithsonian Institution Press, , pp. There was also a tradition of live theatrical and carnival performances in the USA by men identified as Japanese: Putnam's, , pp. For a later, quite literal rendering of the animating ghost of the samurai father, see The Secret Game , a star vehicle for Sessue Hayakawa, concerning a Japanese spy in the USA.

Richard Harding Davis and A. Mahan, The Russo-Japanese War: Collier's, , p. Tyler, Japan-Russia War , pp. World Bible House, p. Methuen, , p. Linthicum and White, War between Japan and Russia , pp. Similarly George Keenan, special correspondent for Outlook magazine, asked: Outing Publishing, , p. Tyler, Japan-Russia War , p. Fox, Following the Sun-Flag , pp. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of Screen.

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