This article reassesses the conduct genre by questioning the critical association between conduct literature and conservative models of gendered domesticity. Challenging the assumption that progressive attitudes toward issues like women's equality and youthful conduct could not coexist with otherwise conservative political or religious beliefs, I analyze conduct books by Evangelical Christians such as Hannah More, Isaac and Ann Taylor, and Jane West. I intend to demonstrate that many conduct books by conservative Christians normalized and even validated behavior traits like “obstinacy,” “pertinacity,” and “resistance” during adolescence, and often explicitly condemned the very features of passive domesticity that critics typically identify with idealized, “proper” conduct of the period.

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