By the Sweat of the Brow

By the Sweat of the Brow

Author: Nicholas K. Bromell

Publisher: University of Chicago Press

ISBN: 0226075559

Category: Literary Criticism

Page: 278

View: 713

Nevertheless, writers resisted identifying their labor as purely or simply bodily, both because society placed mental and spiritual labor at the top of its scale of values and because the body was so often the site of gender or racial subjugation. Bromell also makes important contributions to three areas of nineteenth-century social history. He probes the period's conflicting ideas of mothers as both spiritual "angels of the house" and ineluctably embodied laborers in the home. Using as an example the exhibitions of the Massachusetts Charitable Mechanic Association, he discusses the advent of an industrial ideology that sought to devalue the meaning of skilled manual labor. Finally, he suggests that, paradoxically, slaves were sometimes able to find in their labor a mode of self-actualization within slavery