Reading a 19th century satirical speech by David Ross Locke, and it’s generally easy to understand, but I don’t understand this one sentence.
I’d assume to “canvass for books” means selling them, but I want to be sure…I have no idea what “lords of creation” means. Help? Would be much obliged.
Failing the kitchen, women may canvass for books, though that occupation, like a few others equally profitable, and which also brings them into continual contact with the lords of creation, has a drawback in the fact that some men leer into the face of every woman who strives to do business for herself as though she were a moral leper; and failing all these, she may at least take to the needle.
“Lords of Creation” was a nickname for Gilded Age businessmen, much like a later generation of financiers became known as “Masters of the Universe”. Frederick Lewis Allen wrote a book by that title about Gilded Age businessmen.
I’ve never heard the phrase “canvass for books”, but from the context I assume it means bookkeepping. A woman can keep the books for a business, but it will bring her into contact with wealthy and powerful businessmen who might leer at her.