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What Diantha Did

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(1910)


This novel tells the story of Diantha Bell, a young woman who leaves her home and her fiancé to start a housecleaning business. A resourceful heroine, Diantha quickly expands her business into an enterprise that includes a maid service, cooked food delivery service, restaurant, and hotel. y assigning a cash value to women's "invisible" work, providing a means for the well-being and moral uplift of working girls, and releasing middle-class and leisure-class women from the burden of conventional domestic chores, Diantha proves to her family and community the benefits of professionalized housekeeping. What Diantha Did was first published serially in Gilman's magazine The Forerunner in 1909–10.


We have had military novels, and marine novels; novels of adventure, of
mystery and crime; religious novels, historic novels, novels of
business life, trades unions and the labor question; novels of "local
color," dialect novels; and romances pure and simple—also impure and
complicated. This novel deals with the most practical problem of
women's lives today—and settles it—NOT by cooperation.


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