The Short Life and Long Times of Mrs Beeton (2006)

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Ключови думиЧуждоезична, Литература
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From Publishers Weekly
Hughes (George Eliot) acquaints Americans with Isabella Beeton (1836–1865), a proto–Martha Stewart whose Book of Household Management—still legendary in Britain—urged women to co-opt the efficient operation of their husbands' factories. The first author with unrestricted access to the Beeton archives, Hughes sketches her subject's life and oeuvre with clarity and intimate knowledge of the Victorian milieu. She explores the welter of contradictions that gnawed at Beeton's life and legacy. The rather mousey "diva" died at 28, yet wrote with tetchy middle-aged authority. Though a posthumous legend, in life she remained beholden to her husband, a struggling publisher made solvent by her success. As "editrix" of his women's magazines, Beeton intuited the language that would resonate with readers. Her readership was also defined by dichotomy: aspiring women ushered into the industrial age, caught between the old ways of homemaking and the quicker, cheaper ready-made goods that flooded the London market. "Interlude" chapters offer intense analysis, showing Beeton's dexterity at reconciling the class, economic and gender tensions that lurked beneath the Book's images of Christmas pudding. Though Hughes's allegiance to detail can pull her into tangents, she makes a salient case for Beeton's commercial and cultural importance. Illus. (May)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From The New Yorker
"Beeton's Book of Household Management, " a colossal compendium of recipes and domestic advice—on topics ranging from the dangers of undomesticated swine to the legal rights of married women—went on sale in 1861, was reprinted endlessly, and made the name "Mrs. Beeton" a byword for Victorian domesticity. But this magnificent biography of Isabella Beeton, who died at the age of twenty-eight, reveals a more unconventional figure. Married to a chaotic publisher of popular magazines, Beeton began working alongside her husband partly out of financial necessity. Her famous work was simply one in a series of commissioned volumes, and was mostly put together from other sources. Hughes shows how the book emerged at a time when housewives were struggling to reconcile a vanishing "hand-made" world with a new one of consumer choice. Beeton's achievement was to establish the housewife, as, in her words, "a person of far more importance in a community than she usually thinks she is. "
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