While issues surrounding women and work may be more subtle today than in the past, problems of workplace equity, child-rearing, and domestic labor pose problems of balance that continue to evade solution as women today face substantial shifts in the meanings and practices of marriage, work, and reproduction amid a globalized ecomy. The essays in Women and Work: The Labors of Self-Fashioning explore how nineteenth- and twentieth-century US and British writers represent the work of being women-where work is defined broadly to encompass t only paid labor inside and outside the home, but also the work of performing femininity and domesticity. How did nineteenth- and twentieth-century US and British writers revise then-contemporary social assumptions about who should be performing work, and for what purpose? How fully did these writers perceive the class implications of their arguments for taking jobs outside the home? How does work, both inside and outside the home, contribute to female identity and, conversely, how does it promote what legal theorist Kenji Yoshi terms the demands of covering -women's strategic use of stereotypes of femininity and masculinity to succeed in the marketplace? In articles appropriate for both upper-level undergraduate and graduate students in literature and literary history, women's studies, feminist and gender studies, contributors engage these questions, covering both canical and popular middlebrow nineteenth- and twentieth-century writers such as Gilman, Cather, Alcott, Schreiner, Wharton, Le Sueur, Gissing, Wood, Lewis and Mitchell. Women and Work will also interest scholars concerned with this developing discourse.
Christine Leiren Mower is Adjunct Professor of English and Women Studies at Seattle University. Her teaching and research centers on race, class, and women's reproduction. Her prose has been published in American Literature and The Bellingham Review; her fiction and poetry have appeared in Feminist Studies, A Room of One's Own, The Denver Quarterly, New American Writing and Tampa Review. Christine is the author of two books, the most recent a memoir, Lipstick Moons, chronicling her mother's journey with Alzheimer's. Susanne Weil is Associate Professor of English and Humanities and Director of the Honors Program at Centralia College, Washington. Her teaching and research focus on economic issues in American literature: how Twain's business involvement affected his later writing, and how women are represented in the literature of the labor movement. Susanne also studies spirituality in medieval literature: her work on Beowulf was included in Bloom's Guide to the epic (2008).