If one were to judge by the sheer number of tracts and sermons addressed to or dealing with servants in early modern England, one might conclude that servants were one of the most widely-discussed subjects among clergy, economists and other writers. The 'servant question' as it would come to be termed in the nineteenth century, was a main source of cultural anxiety throughout the early modern period. From the wealth of textual material about female servants, Jeannie Dalporto has chosen four representative texts for inclusion in this volume. They have been chosen to illustrate how books addressed to female servants evolved and to show that women in service and the ordering of the household were integral to the way labour and gender structured early modern socio-economic ideals. Of the four texts reproduced here, two are manuals explaining the duties of female servants, while two are critical, in some respects, of such books addressed to servants..
Table of Contents
Contents: Preface by the General Editors; introductory note; The Accomplished Ladies Rich Closet of Rarities (1687), J[ohn] S[hirley]; 'The Woman's Labour', pp.5-17 in The Woman's Labour (1739), Mary Collier; A Present for a Servant-Maid (1743), Eliza Fowler Haywood; Directions to Servants (1754), Jonathan Swift.