Bodies of Life: Shaker Literature and Literacies

Synopsis

The Shakers' "spiritual literacies," defined through an examination of their reading and writing practices, blur boundaries between traditionally masculine and feminine realms by using reason and emotion and by being innovative as well as traditional. This exploration of the relationship between literary practices and religious life in the 19th century, of such genres as autobiographies, elegies, histories, and doctrinal works, provides new insights into the many ways in which literacy enriches people's lives.