Author Barker-Benfield, G. J
Title Abigail and John Adams : The Americanization of Sensibility
Imprint Chicago : University of Chicago Press, 2010
book jacket
Descript 1 online resource (514 pages)
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Note Intro -- Contents -- Acknowledgments -- Introduction -- Part I: Origins, Definitions, and Social Circumstances -- 1. The Metropolitan Sources of the Adamses' Views of Sensibility -- 2. The Meanings of Sensibility -- 3. The Theory of Gendered Sensibility -- 4. Social Circles and the Reformation of Female Manners -- 5. Young American Women Enter the World -- Part II: Particular Applications -- 6. A Woman's Struggle over Sensibility -- 7. Sensibility and Reform -- 8. Abigail's Perspective, Public versus Private -- 9. John Adams and the Reformation of Male Manners -- 10. The Pleasures and Pains of Public Life -- Part III: Private Perpetuation -- 11. Raising Children with Sensibility -- 12. A Reformed Rake? -- 13. The Question Answered -- Part IV: Conclusion -- 14. The Americanization of Sensibility -- Notes -- Index
During the many years that they were separated by the perils of the American Revolution, John and Abigail Adams exchanged hundreds of letters. Writing to each other of public events and private feelings, loyalty and love, revolution and parenting, they wove a tapestry of correspondence that has become a cherished part of American history and literature. With Abigail and John Adams, historian G. J. Barker-Benfield mines those familiar letters to a new purpose: teasing out the ways in which they reflected-and helped transform-a language of sensibility, inherited from Britain but, amid the revolutionary fervor, becoming Americanized. Sensibility-a heightened moral consciousness of feeling, rooted in the theories of such thinkers as Descartes, Locke, and Adam Smith and including a "moral sense" akin to the physical senses-threads throughout these letters. As Barker-Benfield makes clear, sensibility was the fertile, humanizing ground on which the Adamses not only founded their marriage, but also the "abhorrence of injustice and inhumanity" they and their contemporaries hoped to plant at the heart of the new nation. Bringing together their correspondence with a wealth of fascinating detail about life and thought, courtship and sex, gender and parenting, and class and politics in the revolutionary generation and beyond, Abigail and John Adams draws a lively, convincing portrait of a marriage endangered by separation, yet surviving by the same ideas and idealism that drove the revolution itself. A feast of ideas that never neglects the real lives of the man and woman at its center, Abigail and John Adams takes readers into the heart of an unforgettable union in order to illuminate the first days of our nation-and explore our earliest understandings of what it might mean to be an American
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Electronic reproduction. Ann Arbor, Michigan : ProQuest Ebook Central, 2020. Available via World Wide Web. Access may be limited to ProQuest Ebook Central affiliated libraries
Link Print version: Barker-Benfield, G. J. Abigail and John Adams : The Americanization of Sensibility Chicago : University of Chicago Press,c2010 9780226037431
Subject Adams, Abigail, -- 1744-1818.;Adams, John, -- 1735-1826.;Sentimentalism.;United States -- Social life and customs -- To 1775.;United States -- Social life and customs -- 1775-1783.;United States -- Social life and customs -- 1783-1865
Electronic books