In this study I conduct an exploratory corpus-based study of nineteenth-century advice manuals for women with a view to investigating the ways in which these texts ideologically and discursively construct a model of socially acceptable female identity. The analysis is based on a corpus of twenty advice manuals published in Britain between 1810 and 1878. By combining a quantitative analysis of keywords with manual investigation of concordance lines containing the most frequent keywords, I examine the parameters within which the model of socially acceptable female identity is discursively constructed. My analysis shows that, by learning to control their bodies, voices and speech, nineteenth-century women readers internalised the model presented in advice literature in order to become desirable to men of a good social position (Armstrong 2014).
Jul 18, 2022