From Beacon Hill to the Crystal Palace: The 1851 Travel by Lorenza Stevens Berbineau

By Lorenza Stevens Berbineau

Simply because earlier stories of yankee women’s commute writing have concentrated solely on middle-class and filthy rich tourists, it's been tough to evaluate the style and its contributors in a holistic type. one of many only a few surviving working-class go back and forth diaries, Lorenza Stevens Berbineau’s account presents readers with a special standpoint of a household servant within the filthy rich Lowell relations in Boston. Staying in sumptuous motels and taking care of her younger cost Eddie in the course of her six-month grand journey, Berbineau wrote designated and insightful entries in regards to the humans and locations she observed.

Contributing to the traditions of women’s, diary, and commute literature from the viewpoint of a family servant, Berbineau's narrative finds an arresting and intimate outlook on either her personal lifestyles and the actions, locations, and other people she encounters. for instance, she conscientiously files Europeans’ spiritual practices, operating humans and their habit, and every region’s aesthetic features. sincerely writing in haste and with a lovely freedom from the limitations of orthographic and stylistic conference, Berbineau deals a particular voice and a discerning standpoint. Alert to nuances of social category, her narrative is as beautiful and informative to ultra-modern readers because it without doubt used to be to her fellow domestics within the Lowell family.

Unobtrusively edited to preserve up to attainable the distinctiveness and texture of the author’s unique manuscript, From Beacon Hill to the Crystal Palace bargains readers short framing summaries, informative endnotes, and a invaluable advent that analyzes Berbineau’s narrative with regards to gender and sophistication concerns and compares it to the printed trip writing of her recognized modern, Harriet Beecher Stowe.

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Extra resources for From Beacon Hill to the Crystal Palace: The 1851 Travel Diary of a Working-Class Woman

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I never feel as if I could make up my mind to that [married life]—it’s too much like being a woman. ” Reemphasizing her independence, in 1873 she writes: “I am as I am. A servant still, & a very low one, in the eyes o’ the world. I can work at ease. I can go out and come in when I please” (quoted in Blodgett, Capacious, 94, 101). Written twenty years after Berbineau’s, Cullwick’s diary reflects the increasing self-awareness and self-assertiveness of women of all classes. Substantively and formally, however, it shares some features with the work of her American counterpart.

2. I am indebted to Mary Suzanne Schriber’s excellent volume for much of the background on women’s travel writing. Schriber focuses on white middleand upper-class women, although she does include many unpublished writers in her account. Terry Caesar discusses women travel writers’ search for narrative authority (53– 61). 3. Philip Taylor’s essay provides an excellent reconstruction of Berbineau’s trip and biography, as well as valuable information about the social and cultural context in which her diary was written.

Cullwick enjoyed a long-term, secret relationship with a relatively affluent man, Derek Munby, who eventually married her. The couple often lived apart, although for a period after their marriage Cullwick lived with Munby as his putative servant. In 1871, Cullwick writes: “I like the life I lead—working here & just going to M. when I can of a Sunday. . I never feel as if I could make up my mind to that [married life]—it’s too much like being a woman. ” Reemphasizing her independence, in 1873 she writes: “I am as I am.

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