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Landscape for a Good Woman: A Story of Two Lives
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Landscape for a Good Woman: A Story of Two Lives

3.67  ·  Rating Details  ·  174 Ratings  ·  13 Reviews
Paperback, 176 pages
Published October 1st 1987 by Rutgers University Press (first published 1986)
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(showing 1-30 of 344)
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Aug 26, 2014 Paul rated it really liked it
Shelves: feminism
4.5 stars
I first read this when it was published in the 1980s and I still have the virago original paperback from that time. Aubrey’s efforts in the 500 great books by women group has prompted me to dig it out and re-read.
It is a partly autobiographical work which looks at the childhood of the author (1950s London) and her mother (1920s Burnley/Lancshire). Steedman uses the factual information to analyse female childhood (working class childhood) in feminist and psychoanalytic terms.
Steedman l
Dec 26, 2012 John rated it really liked it
I honestly don't know what to say about this is still puzzling me. It isn't really a memoir, or a traditional work of history, and I can't remember ever reading a book quite like it. It has some fascinating things to say about how the stories that we tell to make history make sense can fail to encompass real people and their contradictions. Nobody really, truly fits our easy narratives, but we have to make them fit, because we need history to make sense, individual idiosyncrasies be da ...more
Aug 24, 2009 Korri rated it really liked it
In this history/biography, Steedman qualifies the use of the Freudian psychoanalytic case study to look at her working-class South London childhood. She re-evaluates histories of working classes which focus on proletariat solidarity, the law of the father, and the myth of mothers' tough love at the expense of women's agency, some women's lack of maternal feeling and portrayals of women who desired status as embodied in material goods. Fascinating & ambitious.
Kristin Canfield
Jul 12, 2015 Kristin Canfield rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poverty, fx
Wow! Okay, in love with this. It contains all of the things that I like: post-war decline of Britain, working-class narratives, adolescence, female subjectivities. JL Egan, you were right.
Dec 04, 2014 Jesi rated it it was amazing
An incredible book. I don't think my summary would do it justice, but wow, if you are at all interested in class, British culture, feminist theory, working class childhoods (cough Aubri), representations of poverty (cough Kristin), difficult mother-daughter relationships (cough Courtney), or just gorgeous prose, you should read this. I think this might be my favorite genre of all -- the creative nonfiction/memoir-type essay that functions both as social critique and as a meditation on the work w ...more
Sep 02, 2014 Melissa rated it really liked it
Thoroughly enjoyed reading this beautifully written remembrance of a 1950s working-class childhood. It made me realize how little I've thought both of my own parents' positions while raising me and the "accuracy" of my memories of that time. Feminist, Marxist, and psychoanalytic analysis of a compelling mother-daughter relationship.

Two of my favorite quotes:

p. 29 "Memory alone cannot resurrect past time because it is memory itself that shapes it, long after historical time has passed."

p. 128 ".
Dec 24, 2010 Hafsa rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: gender-feminism
While reading Landscape for a Good Woman, I noticed a strong parallel between the style in which Steedman decides to write this book and the ways in which my women’s studies readings challenge traditional disciplinary approaches by using and giving legitimacy to personal stories. I am impressed, although a bit taken aback, by the ways in which Steedman confronts what she sees as major pitfalls in how accounts of working-women and mothers are simplified during the 1950’s, a time of significant po ...more
Dec 08, 2014 Katharine rated it liked it
Shelves: field-exam
This was an excellent read, but not as relevant/applicable to my work as I hoped it would be. If you're interested in British Cultural Studies, it's a must-read, but a lot of the material is specific to the author (personal accounts). However, the personal nature of the book is what makes it so easy and interesting to read. It doesn't feel super "academic."
May 31, 2008 Celeste rated it it was amazing
At once a biography of her mother, an autobiography, and a philosophical study of gender and class, Landscape for a Good Woman is a beautiful exposition of the intersections of class and patriarchy in 1950s Britain through one woman's life.
Jan 20, 2008 Dana rated it really liked it
Shelves: to-re-read
So I read this way back in my Freshman college year for English comp and don't remember much, but I do remember (surprisingly) enjoying it. One day I will pull this out of storage and give it it's due atention and a fuller review.
Dec 10, 2012 Jork rated it it was amazing
Deeply felt, beautifully written, and above all convincing, Steedman has produced a shattering family history in the mold of a psycho-analytic myth: the story of an individual that is the story of all. Excellent.
Anh  Le
Sep 25, 2014 Anh Le rated it really liked it
Reviews to come soon. Absolutely a fascinating read as my preface.
Update: here comes my review:
Jun 10, 2009 Risa rated it liked it
Landscape for a Good Woman: A Story by Carolyn Kay Steedman (1987)
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Carolyn Steedman is the author of An Everyday Life of the English Working Class (2013). She is a Professor in the Department of History at the University of Warwick. Her recent publications include Master and Servant: Love and Labour in the English Industrial Age (2007) and Labours Lost: Domestic Service and the Making of Modern England (2009).

More about Carolyn Steedman...

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