Consuming Angels: Advertising and Victorian Women

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Overview

Timid and retiring, the Victorian housewife was an "angel in the house," or so says the stereotype. But when this angel picked up a popular magazine—The Lady, for instance—she saw in its advertisements images of Grecian goddesses, women warriors, queens, actresses, adventurers. These arrestingly sexual and surprisingly powerful images are the subject of Consuming Angels, a major examination of how Victorian ads shaped social values. Stylishly written and featuring 73 reproductions, this book shows how ads used the hedonistic aspects of Victorian culture to sell their wares, glorified consumerism, and mythologized the middle-class life. Images of aggressive women, Loeb shows, played well to both men and women. And ultimately, these ads helped usher in the twentieth century with the creation of a new community: the community of consumers.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"The subject of this wonderfully illustrated book goes to the heart of modern life, the establishment of the ethos of consumption (in England) and the necessary role played in it by women. Loeb shows how the home, already transformed by mid-Victorian evangelicalism into a "domestic temple" presided over by feminine virtue, was easily altered by advertisers into the locus of gracious middle-class consumption managed by an equivalent feminine presence."—The Boston Sunday Globe

"Loeb's argument about the impact of consumerism on women's status is most compelling....Fascinating and richly illustrated, this work is a welcome addition to social and women's history."—Choice

"An excellent reading for my course sermon on women as consumers. Great analysis of images within their historical contect."—Deborah I. Prosser, SUNY at Oneonta

"A superb introduction to an advertising mentality which presumably led to the successful marketing of products in an age of rapidly growing consumerism."—The Historian

"This is the first time that advertising has been taken apart and examined in this way, and [the book] is a solid starting point from which to study advertising in Victorian Britain."—Victorian Periodicals Review

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780195085969
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 7/28/1994
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 240
  • Lexile: 1340L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 6.37 (w) x 9.56 (h) x 0.77 (d)

Meet the Author

Lori Anne Loeb is Assistant Professor of Modern British History at the University of South Carolina.

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Table of Contents

1 Victorian Consumer Culture 3
2 Commercial Interpretations of the Domestic Ideology 16
3 Progress in the Victorian Advertisement: Productive Engines and Consuming Conflagrations 46
4 Heroes for Sale 72
5 Anxiety in the Victorian Advertisement: Evangelical Forms and Material Deliverers 100
6 Community and the Individual 128
7 Social Emulation and Mass Consumption: Elitism or Material Democratization? 158
8 Conclusion 180
Notes 185
Bibliography 203
Index 219
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