"The Future Good and Great of Our Land": Republican Mothers, Female Authors, and Domesticated Literacy in Antebellum New England

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In an 1830s review of Lydia Maria Child's Good Wives published in Sarah Hale's Ladies' Magazine, the enthusiastic commentator quoted above sets Child's latest book within a thriving literary culture that values didactic literature. Acknowledging the importance of a genre I call the domestic literacy narrative, the reviewer confidently asserts that "the prevalent rage for reading" promises to promote not only familial but national well-being-promises, that is, if more books like Child's are regularly published to help train women to direct their family's reading and extract from it principles and behaviors consonant with their country's "future good."