Laboring to Play: Home Entertainment and the Spectacle of Middle-Class Cultural Life, 1850-1920

By Jackson, Kathy Merlock | Journal of American Culture (Malden, MA), March 2006 | Go to article overview

Laboring to Play: Home Entertainment and the Spectacle of Middle-Class Cultural Life, 1850-1920


Jackson, Kathy Merlock, Journal of American Culture (Malden, MA)


Laboring to Play: Home Entertainment and the Spectacle of Middle-Class Cultural Life, 1850-1920 Melanie Dawson. Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press, 2005.

"All play means something," writes J. Huizmga m Homo Ludens. In Laboring to Play, a historical analysis of 19th century home entertainment, Melanie Dawson sets out to explain what it meant in the lives of middle-class Americans. Whereas much has been written about children's toys and play in this era, little scholarship has addressed adults' games and leisure activities. However, Dawson's story of them sheds light on important class and gender issues.

Play in nineteenth century America took on many forms, such as parlor games, charades, home dramas, and tableaux vivants. Analysis of these forms shows how middle-class Americans developed a sense of group identity and set standards for proper etiquette and social conformity. For example, "The Genteel Lady," a popular parlor game, requires participants to perfectly repeat a complicated text, and when they fail, they receive paper horns. "Although a game like 'Genteel Lady' purports to uphold something labeled 'gentility,'" Dawson writes, "it aggressively questions the fhtedness of genteel ambitions to the game's participants, most of whom will in fact lose the title 'Genteel Lady' and become 'Horned Ladies' instead" (21). …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Laboring to Play: Home Entertainment and the Spectacle of Middle-Class Cultural Life, 1850-1920
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.