Moral Landscapes: Mary Gladstone’s Reading Community
One of the most intriguing aspects of the hostess’s role was serving as a relay station for ideas and opinions generated by members of her intellectual community. Like many of her activities, this one was traditional; for years, disseminating commentary had been part of the hostess’s job, especially women who, like Mary Gladstone and Annie Fields, presided over highly literate gatherings. By the 1870s, however, the rapidity with which ideas could be circulated had accelerated, primarily because, as noted earlier, the mail-train and the postal service could now be depended on to deliver letters within twenty-four hours of their posting.1 Hence the process of discussing an issue before making a final judgment was facilitated by the relative rapidity with which notes could be exchanged.
KeywordsRelay Station Social Reform Public Arena Aesthetic Criterion Academic Socialist
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