A whole range of major American writers have focused on images of the household, of domestic virtue, and the feminine or feminized hero. This important 1990 book examines the persistence and flexibility of such themes in the work of a tradition of classic writers from Ann Bradstreet through Jefferson and Franklin to Hawthorne, Melville, Whitman and Emily Dickinson. Without minimizing the differences that divide these figures, Anderson shows the extent to which, in their various circumstances, they were all committed to a common enterprise - a social and cultural reconstruction based on the domestic values of the ideal private household.
1. 'This great household upon the Earth'; 2. 'To be great and domestic'; 3. Azads in Concord; 4. Hawthorne's marriages; 5. Melville, Whitman, and the predicament of intimacy; 6. Literary archaeology and The Portrait of a Lady; 7. Emily Dickinson's adequate Eve; Conclusion.