Princeton, New Jersey : Princeton University Press, 
Book — xvi, 445 pages : illustrations, maps ; 25 cm
Acknowledgments xiii Introduction 1 CHAPTER ONE Victorian Childhoods and Two Victorian Children 21 The Education of Nellie Dowell 23 The Apprenticeship of Muriel Lester 57 Conclusions: The Challenges of Unlearning 75 CHAPTER TWO Capitalism, from Below and Down Under: The Global Traffic in Matches and Match Girls 77 The Work of the Match Girl in Victorian Culture 79 How Match Factory Women Became Match Girls 85 Match Girls' Militant: Why the Bell's Match Factory Strike of 1893/94 Failed 95 Metropolitan Match Girls Abroad: Immoral Circulations of Matches and Match Girls 104 Conclusions 130 CHAPTER THREE "Being a Christian" in Edwardian Britain 135 "God Is Love" 137 Foundational Fables, Ethical Awakening 154 God's Empire 171 From Paupers to Citizens 177 Conclusions 181 CHAPTER FOUR Body Biographies in War and Peace 184 Taking Nellie's Temperature 186 Narrating Nellie 190 "You don't look near so well really" 201 Muriel Lester's Spiritual Therapeutics 212 Bodies at War 219 Grammars of Difference, Erotics of Illness in Nellie's Letters to Muriel 226 "Why it is I don't know" 237 Conclusions: Dialects for the Heart 252 CHAPTER FIVE Love and Christian Revolution 256 Henry Lester's Gift 261 Feminisms at War 274 Reconciliation and Christian Revolution 288 "Love your enemies, bless them that curse you" 301 Telling the Truth, Becoming an Heiress 315 Conclusions 328 Afterlives 330 Manuscript Sources 353 Notes 357 Index 435.
(source: Nielsen Book Data)
Nellie Dowell was a match factory girl in Victorian London who spent her early years consigned to orphanages and hospitals. Muriel Lester, the daughter of a wealthy shipbuilder, longed to be free of the burden of money and possessions. Together, these unlikely soulmates sought to remake the world according to their own utopian vision of Christ's teachings. The Match Girl and the Heiress paints an unforgettable portrait of their late-nineteenth-century girlhoods of wealth and want, and their daring twentieth-century experiments in ethical living in a world torn apart by war, imperialism, and industrial capitalism. In this captivating book, Seth Koven chronicles how each traveled the globe-Nellie as a spinster proletarian laborer, Muriel as a well-heeled tourist and revered Christian peacemaker, anticolonial activist, and humanitarian. Koven vividly describes how their lives crossed in the slums of East London, where they inaugurated a grassroots revolution that took the Sermon on the Mount as a guide to achieving economic and social justice for the dispossessed. Koven shows how they devoted themselves to Kingsley Hall-Gandhi's London home in 1931 and Britain's first "people's house" founded on the Christian principles of social sharing, pacifism, and reconciliation-and sheds light on the intimacies and inequalities of their loving yet complicated relationship. The Match Girl and the Heiress probes the inner lives of these two extraordinary women against the panoramic backdrop of shop-floor labor politics, global capitalism, counterculture spirituality, and pacifist feminism to expose the wounds of poverty and neglect that Christian love could never heal. (source: Nielsen Book Data)