Between Women: Friendship, Desire, and Marriage in Victorian England
  • Between Women: Friendship, Desire, and Marriage in Victorian England
  • Between Women: Friendship, Desire, and Marriage in Victorian England

Between Women: Friendship, Desire, and Marriage in Victorian England

by Sharon Marcus
     
 

"Between Women literally shifts our understanding of how the history of sexuality and gender norms ought to be written. Sharon Marcus's groundbreaking text finally offers us a framework for thinking about the social and sexual bonds among women and their centrality to the history of gender, sexuality, marriage, and the family. Working with a wide array of

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Overview

"Between Women literally shifts our understanding of how the history of sexuality and gender norms ought to be written. Sharon Marcus's groundbreaking text finally offers us a framework for thinking about the social and sexual bonds among women and their centrality to the history of gender, sexuality, marriage, and the family. Working with a wide array of texts, Marcus brilliantly shows how literary studies can enter into both social history and contemporary politics. Her final reflections on gay and lesbian marriage make clear the high stakes and pressing conceptual implications for our time of this kind of critical and capacious work."—Judith Butler, University of California, Berkeley

"This magnificent and impressive book offers us what Foucault would have called a 'history of the present': not only does it completely transform our perception of the past, but, in so doing, it also newly illuminates the debates and struggles that are ours, today."—Didier Eribon, author of Michel Foucault and Insult and the Making of the Gay Self

"Between Women significantly revises conventional wisdom about Victorian female friendships, desire, and marriage. To tell this story, Marcus has studied women's life writings, canonical fiction, fashion magazines, doll stories, and anthropological texts of the period. The result is intellectually stunning and wonderfully entertaining."—Judith R. Walkowitz, Johns Hopkins University

"Between Women is not only a first-rate Victorianist study, it is also the most original work on gender and sexuality to appear in years—one that promises to shake up feminist theory and queer theory in all the right ways. A densely researched book, as academically sound as it is intellectually thrilling."—Diana Fuss, Princeton University

"This is a superb work of scholarship, beautifully conceived and written, that will change our views of Victorian women, men, society, and culture. Sharon Marcus's argument that the Victorians viewed intense and passionate female relationships as a vital precursor and stimulus for heterosexual marriage is persuasive. What she has accomplished is the most difficult of intellectual projects: seeing what is in plain sight and yet has not been noticed because of our cultural preconceptions, and then using her findings to recast an entire field."—Bonnie S. Anderson, City University of New York

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780691128351
Publisher:
Princeton University Press
Publication date:
01/02/2007
Pages:
368
Sales rank:
1,131,067
Product dimensions:
6.10(w) x 9.20(h) x 0.90(d)

Table of Contents


Illustrations     vii
Acknowledgments     ix
Introduction: The Female Relations of Victorian England     1
Overview     2
Historical and Disciplinary Borders     5
How This Book Engages Scholarly Debates     9
How I Came to Write This Book     14
Conclusion     21
Elastic Ideals: Female Friendship     23
Friendship and the Play of the System     25
Female Friendship in Feminist Studies     29
Victorian Women's Lifewriting and Relationships between Women     32
Female Friendship as Gender Norm     38
Friends and "Friends"     43
The Repertory of Friendship     54
"Purified and Made One in Jesus"     62
Friendship, Kinship, Marriage     66
Just Reading: Female Friendship and the Marriage Plot     73
The Form of the Plot     82
Female Amity and the Companionate Marriage Plot     85
Female Amity and the Feminist Marriage Plot     91
The Double Marriage Plot: Friendship as Cause and Effect     96
Unamiable Villette: Lucy Snowe's Passion     102
Mobile Objects: Female Desire     109
Dressing Up and Dressing Down the FemininePlaything     111
Fashion and Fantasies of Women     116
Discipline and Punishment in the Fashion Magazine     135
Live Dolls     149
The Female Accessory in Great Expectations     167
The Female Dyad and the Origins of Desire     173
Masculinity as Castoff     177
Pip as Doll and Fashion Plate     180
The Sentimental Education of the Female Dyad     184
Plastic Institutions: Female Marriage     191
The Genealogy of Marriage     193
Female Marriage in the Nineteenth Century     196
Female Marriage and Victorian Marriage Reform     204
The Debate over Contractual Marriage     212
Victorian Anthropology and the History of Marriage     217
Same-Sex Unions and the History of Civilization     222
Contracting Female Marriage in Can You forgive Her?     227
Trollope, Feminism, and Female Marriage     228
Female Marriage and Contractual Marriage in Can You Forgive Her?     232
Marriage as Forgiveness: Primitive Contract and Modern Punishment     239
The Persistence of Female Relations     251
Conclusion: Woolf, Wilde, and Girl Dates     257
Notes     263
Bibliography      317
Illustration Credits     347
Index     349

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