Women in Service: Private Lives and Labour in Mary Howitt’s Work and Wages

  • Erin D. ChamberlainEmail author
Part of the British Women’s Writing from Brontë to Bloomsbury, 1840-1940 book series (BWWFBB, volume 1)


Mary Howitt’s novel Work and Wages, or Life in Service (1842) reminds us that while industrialism had a major impact on class mobility through the development of factories and businesses, the social changes of the 1840s permeated the home as well as the public sphere. It was in this context that middle-class women and their servants played a key role in shaping social interactions, and a focus on the figure of the servant offers new ways of interpreting the intersections of class and gender represented by her more visible female employer.

Works Cited

  1. Burnett, John, ed. The Annals of Labour. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1974.Google Scholar
  2. Dunicliff, Joy. Mary Howitt: Another Lost Victorian Writer. London: Excalibur Press of London, 1992.Google Scholar
  3. ———. Quaker to Catholic: Mary Howitt, Lost Author of the 19th Century. McMinnville: St Clair, 2010.Google Scholar
  4. ———. The Traveller on the Hill-Top: Mary Howitt, the Famous Victorian Authoress. Leek: Churnet Valley Books, 1998.Google Scholar
  5. Fernandez, Jean. Victorian Servants, Class, and the Politics of Literacy. New York: Routledge, 2010.Google Scholar
  6. Horn, Pamela. The Rise and Fall of the Victorian Servant. New York: St Martin’s Press, 1975.Google Scholar
  7. Howitt, Mary. Mary Howitt: An Autobiography. 1889. Ed. Margaret Howitt. Vol. 1. New York: AMS Press, 1973.Google Scholar
  8. ———. Work and Wages; or, Life in Service. 1842. 2nd edition. London: Thomas Tegg, 1843.Google Scholar
  9. Kitchener, William. The Housekeeper’s Oracle. London: J. Moyes, 1829.Google Scholar
  10. Lee, Amice. Laurels & Rosemary: The Life of William and Mary Howitt. London: Oxford University Press, 1955.Google Scholar
  11. Mayhew, Augustus and Henry Mayhew. The Greatest Plague of Life: or, The Adventures of a Lady in Search of a Good Servant by One Who Has Been ‘Almost Worried to Death.’ London: D. Bogue, 1847.Google Scholar
  12. Mintz, Steven. A Prison of Expectations: The Family in Victorian Culture. New York: New York University Press, 1985.Google Scholar
  13. Mulock, Dinah. ‘Female Servants.’ A Woman’s Thoughts About Women. London: Hurst and Blackett, 1859.Google Scholar
  14. Peterson, Linda H. Becoming a Woman of Letters: Myths of Authorship and Facts of the Victorian Market. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2009.Google Scholar
  15. Woodring, Carl. Victorian Samplers: William and Mary Howitt. Lawrence: University of Kansas Press, 1952.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Washburn UniversityTopekaUSA

Personalised recommendations