Courtship, love, and marriage in nineteenth-century English Canada [electronic resource] /
Peter Ward.
Montreal ; Buffalo : McGill-Queen's University Press, c1990.
x, 219 p. : ill. ; 24 cm.
0773507493 (alk. paper)
More Details
Montreal ; Buffalo : McGill-Queen's University Press, c1990.
0773507493 (alk. paper)
Licensed for access by U. of T. users.
catalogue key
Includes bibliographical references (p. [183]-213) and index.
A Look Inside
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Choice on 1991-02:
Ward's study actually covers the period from the 1780s to about 1914. "Because of insufficient sources, Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland receive short shrift," and the 19th-century Canadian West is excluded from Ward's account. The author explains that "Two great themes lie at the heart of {this} inquiry. One is the community's ongoing interest in the reproduction and defence of the family as a social institution. The other is the couple's search for privacy and intimacy in the face of public intrusiveness." Ward (University of British Columbia) based his research on such family papers as "diaries and letters written and read by ordinary men and women." His range is vast. The thread running through the narrative is the troubled courtship and marriage of George Stephen Jones and Catherine Eleonore-Honorine Tanswell, both of Quebec City. An incidental contribution of the work is the author's clarification of the problem of class structure, which is by no means as clearly defined as neo-marxist historians would have readers believe. Ward also reveals the improving status of women during the period. He does admit, however, that his sources reflect the top strata of society. Eight tables and one figure largely deal with age at marriage. Six illustrations describe a fictional account of "the role of sleighing in courtship," and one shows an early valentine. The documentation is thorough and the index excellent. College, university, and public libraries. -J. J. Talman, University of Western Ontario
This item was reviewed in:
Choice, February 1991
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Main Description
Courtship, love, and marriage are seen today as very private affairs, and historians have generally concluded that after the late eighteenth century young people began to enjoy great autonomy in courtship and decisions about marriage. Peter Ward disagrees with this conclusion and argues that freedom in nineteenth-century English Canada was constrained by an intricate social, institutional, and familial framework which greatly influenced the behaviour of young couples both before and after marriage.

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