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Identity in Transition

The Images of Working-Class Women in Social Prose of the "Vormärz</I> (1840-1848)


Helen G. Morris-Keitel

A detailed analysis of the narration of working-class women's lives in social prose by Ernst Dronke, Adolf Glassbrenner, Louise Otto, Georg Weerth and Ernst Willkomm reveals that in most instances, behind a veil of socio-historical details, there lies an ideal, universal notion of womanhood that revolves around children, the home, and religion. This realization has important ramifications for the understanding of social prose as a genre, as well as for the reinforcement and universalization of bourgeois gender roles in mid-nineteenth-century Germany.