Who:  The Ohio State University at Lima
What: 
Ohio State Lima English professor raises the dust with latest book
When:
 
Where: 

Contact: 
Pam Joseph at (419) 995-8284
 

For Immediate Release

Nov. 22, 2004

CONTACT: Pam Joseph at (419) 995-8284

Ohio State Lima English professor raises the dust with latest book

Beth Sutton-Ramspeck, Associate Professor of English The Ohio State University at Lima, is the author of Raising the Dust: The Literary Housekeeping of Mary Ward, Sarah Grand, and Charlotte Perkins Gilman, which examines three authors who rejected turn-of-the-century aestheticism and modernism in favor of a literature that is practical, even ostensibly mundane, and designed to “set the human household in order.”

To Ward, Grand and Gilman, housekeeping represented public responsibilities such as making the food supply safe, reforming politics and improving the human race itself. In Raising the Dust, Dr. Sutton-Ramspeck places their writing in the context of the late Victorian era, in particular the eugenics movement, the proliferation of household conveniences, the home economics movement and decreased reliance on servants.

These changes affected relationships between the domestic sphere and the public sphere, and hence shaped the portrayal of domesticity in the era’s fiction and nonfiction. This innovative and ambitious book also connects fixations on cleaning with the discovery of germs (the first bacterium discovered was anthrax, and knowledge of its properties increased fears of dust); analyzes advertising cards for soap; and links the mental illness in Gilman’s “The Yellow Wall-Paper” to fears during the period of arsenic poisoning from wallpaper.

Raising the Dust is available from Ohio University Press and Swallow Press or at their website www.ohiou.edu/oupress/FW2004/sutton-ramspek/index.htm.

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Editors’ Note: Several colorful digital scans of the antique advertising cards for soap are available.

Raising the Dust: The Literary Housekeeping of Mary Ward, Sarah Grand, and Charlotte Perkins Gilman

Table of Contents  

4 Introduction  
26 Chapter 1 Literature as Housekeeping
83 Chapter 2 "A Motherliness Which Dominated Society": Mothers in Literary Housekeeping
136  Chapter 3   Making a Home: Literary House Makers 
183 Chapter 4 "Loaf Givers": Providing Food for the Human Family
225 Chapter 5 Cleaning House: Sanitation and Social Purity
257   Illustrations to accompany Chapter 5
260  Chapter 6 The Needleworker Re-Worked
290  Conclusion Literary Dust-Ups
292   Bibliography
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