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She Hath Been ReadingWomen and Shakespeare Clubs in America$
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Katherine West Scheil

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780801450426

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: August 2016

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9780801450426.001.0001

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The Home

The Home

(p.61) Chapter 2 The Home
She Hath Been Reading

Katherine West Scheil

Cornell University Press

This chapter maps out the ways in which Shakespeare became part of American home life in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries through women's Shakespeare clubs. In the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, women's domestic life was undergoing a variety of challenges and changes, and debates covered topics from women's suffrage to their domestic responsibilities and moral and intellectual life. Shakespeare clubs affected home life by bringing women out of their homes, as numerous club women attest, but also by refashioning the home as an intellectual space where women could carry out their household duties and engage in intellectual development. In addition to reading, studying, and performing Shakespeare, many women co-opted a number of domestic practices, including cooking, sewing, and scrapbooking, as ways to domesticate Shakespeare and incorporate him into the labor of the household.

Keywords:   American home life, female Shakespeare clubs, female domestic life, domestic practices, household duties, domesticating Shakespeare, intellectual development

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