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Shaking the Faith: Women, Family, and Mary Marshall Dyer's Anti-Shaker Campaign, 1815-1867 (Paperback)
  • Shaking the Faith: Women, Family, and Mary Marshall Dyer's Anti-Shaker Campaign, 1815-1867 (Paperback)
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Shaking the Faith: Women, Family, and Mary Marshall Dyer's Anti-Shaker Campaign, 1815-1867 (Paperback)

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£27.99
Paperback 233 Pages / Published: 01/07/2004
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In the first half of the 19th century, Mary Marshall Dyer (1780-1867) was at the center of an aggressive anti-Shaker movement - an informal yet effective group joined by their despisal of Shakerism and their determination to thwart the new faith. With her husband and their five children, Dyer had been a Shaker for two years, but as her husband grew increasingly attracted to Shakerism, Dyer's own commitment waned, and when she announced she was leaving the sect and requested the return of her children , neither her husband nor the Shaker authorities would relinquish them. Distraught, angry, and alone, Dyer turned her anguish into action and embarked on a fifty year campaign against the Shakers. A linchpin of anti-Shaker activity, Dyer wrote numerous articles against the sect, as well as five books - and was the centerpiece of the Shakers' counterattack. The American public - especially in New England, where the Shaker movement was based - followed the debate with great interest, not least because it offered titillating details into the mysterious sect, but also because Dyer's experiences reflected profound changes in the family, religion, and gender that Americans faced in the years prior to the Civil War. In this compelling book, De Wolfe suggests that while neither the Shakers nor Dyer would agree, the latter, a mother without children and a wife without a husband, and the former, a celibate communal sect that disavowed the marriage bond, shared similar positions on the margins of society.

Publisher: Palgrave USA
ISBN: 9781403966124
Number of pages: 233
Weight: 326 g
Dimensions: 216 x 140 x 14 mm
Edition: 2002 ed.


MEDIA REVIEWS
Winner of the 2003 Outstanding Publication Award, Communal Studies Association
"Elizabeth De Wolfe's account of Dyer's circumstances, motives, and activities as a prominent Shaker apostate sheds new light on a lifelong quest to fulfill her role as wife and mother and on the larger world of career apostates that she entered. Drawing on scholarly resources dealing with gender and family as well as with religious history and print culture, De Wolfe integrates her narrative of this remarkable woman into the larger story of nineteenth-century American religion, society, and culture."--Stephen J. Stein, Chancellors' Professor of Religious Studies, and Adjunct Professor of History, Indiana University, Bloomington
"In this skillfully researched and deftly written study, Elizabeth De Wolfe suggests new perspectives for understanding the Shakers, the role of women in new religious and communal movements, and the problems that a capable woman had as she tried to develop an independent life and have a public impact in a society where women's roles were severely circumscribed."--Lawrence Foster, author of "Religion and Sexuality: The Shakers, the Mormons, and the Oneida Community"
""Shaking the Faith" tells the compelling story of a woman and a religious sect locked in a dangerous duel on the margins of American culture. Elizabeth De Wolfe vividly exposes the historical roots of questions that continue to perplex contemporary society: What happens when a marriage falls apart? How should a mother behave? What constitutes a proper family? Shaking the Faith offers a fascinating look at the very public fracturing of the Dyer marriage, and explores what the couple's tempestuous divorce revealed about gender, family and faith in the early American republic."--Nancy Lusignan Schultz, author of "Fire & Roses: The Burning of the Charlestown Convent, 1834"
"Carefully researched and thoughtfully argued, "Shaking the Faith" is a valuable case study of one woman's struggle to

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