The Origin of the Family, Private Property and the State

Penguin UK
6
Free sample

The Origin of the Family, Private Property and the State (1884), was a provocative and profoundly influential critique of the Victorian nuclear family. Engels argued that the traditional monogamous household was in fact a recent construct, closely bound up with capitalist societies. Under this patriarchal system, women were servants and, effectively, prostitutes. Only Communism would herald the dawn of communal living and a new sexual freedom and, in turn, the role of the state would become superfluous.
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About the author

Friedrich Engels was born in 1820. In 1842 Engels went to Manchester to represent the family firm. Relationships there inspired the famous The Condition of the Working Class in England in 1844. Collaboration with Marx began in 1844 and in 1847 he composed the first drafts of the Manifesto. After Marx's death, he prepared the unfinished volumes of Capital for publication. He died in 1895.

Dr Tristram Hunt is one of Britain's best known young historians. Educated at Cambridge and Chicago Universities, he is lecturer in British history at Queen Mary, University of London and author of several books. A leading historical broadcaster, he has authored numerous series for the BBC and Channel 4. A regular contributor to The Times, The Guardian and The Observer, he is a Trustee of the National Heritage Memorial Fund and Fellow of the Royal Historical Society.

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Additional Information

Publisher
Penguin UK
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Published on
Apr 29, 2010
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Pages
240
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ISBN
9780141958347
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Features
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Language
English
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Genres
History / Social History
Political Science / Political Ideologies / Communism, Post-Communism & Socialism
Social Science / Sociology / Marriage & Family
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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During the last few decades the study of the family has flourished, and in the process many myths about what life was like two or three centuries ago have been debunked. For example, contrary to popular belief, we now know that most women in the preindustrial West did not marry before they were twenty-five. Most households consisted of no more than four or five people, usually including unrelated young people working as servants. And perhaps most surprising of all, multigenerational households were not very common. Pulling together much fascinating information about the family in the preindustrial Western world, Beatrice Gottlieb presents every aspect of this rich subject with clarity and fairness. Her generously illustrated book deals with the households of the wealthy and the poor, courtship and marriage, the care and training of children, and the bonds (and strains) of kinship. The matter of inheritance receives special attention, as it played a substantial role in a world permeated by rank and status, and its importance gave the family a peculiar social and economic significance. With a focus on the ordinary people whose everyday lives strike a responsive chord in all of us, as well as brief appearances by famous people and important events in history--Henry VIII's divorce, Benjamin Franklin's apprenticeship to his brother, and Mary Wollstonecraft's death in childbirth--this remarkable, eminently readable work brings to vivid life the wives and husbands, servants and masters, children and parents of a not too distant past.
When someone says, at a holiday dinner table, "Oh, those Lawrence cousins lose control all the time," or "the Davises always had more talent than luck," you can be sure there's a lesson being passed along, from one generation to another. Who tells stories to whom and about what is never a random matter. Our family stories have a secret power: they play a unique role in shaping our identity, our sense of our place in the world. The give us values, inspirations, warnings, incentives. We need them. We use them. We keep them. They reverberate throughout our lives, affecting our choices in love, work, friendship, and lifestyle. Elizabeth Stone, whose grandparents came from Italy to Brooklyn, artfully weaves her own family stories among the stories of more than a hundred people of all backgrounds, ages, and regions - clarifying for us predictable types of family legends, providing ways to interpret our own stories and their roles in our lives. She examines stories of birth, death, work, money, romantic adventure - all in the context of the family storytelling ritual. And she shows how stories about our most ancient ancestors may provide answers at milestone moments in our lives, as well as how stories about our newest family members carve out places for them so they will fit into their families, comfortably or otherwise. Upon its initial publication in 1988, Studs Terkel said that the book is "A wholly original approach to an ancient theme: family storytelling and its lasting mark on the individual." Judy Collins noted that "Elizabeth Stone's marvelous book on family myths and fables is irresistible. It lets us in on our own secrets in a provocative and exciting way." And Maggie Scarf wrote, "What a clever topic, and how beautifully Elizabeth Stone has written about it! I recommend Black Sheep and Kissing Cousins for everyone who has ever been raised in a family."
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