Cover page for Archives of Labor: Working-Class Women and Literary Culture in the Antebellum United States

Lori Merish, Archives of Labor: Working-Class Women and Literary Culture in the Antebellum United States

Lori Merish’s Archives of Labor: Working Class Women and Literary Culture in the Antebellum United States is an ambitious work that recovers texts by and about women, labor, and working-class experience. Merish examines texts that consider a diversity of women, including “Lowell mill women, African American ‘free laborers,’ Mexicana mission workers, urban seamstresses, and prostitutes” (10). This book both performs the work of recovering texts left out of literary history and analyzing the subject positions of the diverse women represented in them. Moreover, it approaches class and labor from many critical perspectives, including Jameson’s dialogical framework and identity-focused theoretical paradigms from gender and sexuality studies, race, class, and disability studies.