This paper examines three female writers who chose to affiliate their educational scientific works with the ‘domestic sphere’: Priscilla Wakefield, Jane Marcet and Maria Edgeworth. It shows that within what is now broadly categorized as ‘familiar science’, differing motivations for writing, publishing and reading existed. Between 1790 and 1830 many educationalists claimed that the best way for children to learn was for them to exercise their memory on things encountered in everyday life. Religious allegiances, attitudes towards female science education and the utility of science in the home help to explain why these writers chose to introduce their readers to the illimitable world of science by setting their books in the seemingly restrictive domestic sphere. Furthermore, this paper argues that three different authors envisioned subtly different domestic spheres as settings for their work. Rather than there being a single homogeneous domestic sphere in which women and children received their education, and about which such authors wrote, there existed a multiplicity of domestic spheres depicted across the genre of educational science texts.
- © 2016 The Author(s)
Published by the Royal Society.