Names and Stories: Emilia Dilke and Victorian Culture

Names and Stories: Emilia Dilke and Victorian Culture

by Kali Israel
     
 

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Employing an individual life lived under any names, Names and Stories investigates nineteenth-century British culture while also embodying a critical and historical engagement with theoretical questions. The book examines the histories of gender, knowledge, families, bodies, art, and political thought in Victorian Britain, contributing to both literary studies and

Overview

Employing an individual life lived under any names, Names and Stories investigates nineteenth-century British culture while also embodying a critical and historical engagement with theoretical questions. The book examines the histories of gender, knowledge, families, bodies, art, and political thought in Victorian Britain, contributing to both literary studies and cross-disciplinary feminist scholarship. By exploring key facets of British cultural and political history in the 1800s, this new work rigorously addresses wider themes of narrative, figuration, and historical writing and reading.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"This is a remarkable work of interdisciplinary scholarship. By exploring narrative representations of the life of the extraordinary Victorian Emilia Dilke, Professor Israel upsets what is often the most conservative form of history writing—biography. This is 'biographical' writing in a truly postmodern key. The author uses Dilke as a complex site for addressing important questions about gender, class, politics, social performance, the body, erotic desire, and how we make historical sense of such things. Kali Israel's study is controversial in the best sense, inviting readers to rethink methods of interpretation and understanding."—James Epstein, Professor of History, Vanderbilt University

"Names and Stories is a fruitful alliance of detailed and generous primary-source research with sophisticated post-modern readings of text; of traditional and 'literary turn' history; and of biography and cultural history. Part of the new school of feminist life-story writing which refuses a continuous, unified recital of its subject, Israel's book on Emilia Dilke (in all her incarnations) is nonetheless wonderfully thorough at retrieving the thousands of texts (including nearly a dozen novels, beginning with Middlemarch) woven around her life. I read it with fascination."—Ellen Ross, Professor of History and Women's Studies, Ramapo College of New Jersey

"Israel has produced an unusual treatment of the life of Lady Emilia Dilke, an actor of importance and interest to scholars of Victorian high politics, art, social reform, and feminism. Much more than a 'life and times of...' work, this book demonstrates the integral, textual connections between the stories Dilke told about herself and others and the political, personal, private, cultural, and social life in Victorian Britain. Based upon a vast array of little-used primary materials, it offers an original and stimulating interpretation of both Emilia Dilke's life stories and the use of her life stories to achieve other ends. Israel is among a select group of scholars who seek to broaden and open the possibilities of biography. This is an impressive achievement."—Susan K. Kent, Professor of History, University of Colorado

"This is an impressive and intriguing post-modernist biographical disquisition providing much insight into the life and world of Francis Pattison/Emilia Dilke, art historian, trade unionist, fictionalist, and wife of two problematical Victorians, Mark Pattison and Sir Charles Dilke. The study is set within a rich palimpsest of nineteenth-century professional life and sexuality."—Peter Stansky, Stanford University

"Literary critics will find that Kali Israel's discussion of the exceptional Emilia Pattison provides new insights into the ways in which narratives inform the best type of cultural history. Israel's exemplary study reveals that material lives comprise both 'names' and 'stories', all involving conflicting kinds of personal, political, and social narration."—Joseph Bristow, University of California at Los Angeles

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780195158199
Publisher:
Oxford University Press, USA
Publication date:
09/28/2002
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
384
Product dimensions:
0.00(w) x 0.00(h) x 0.00(d)

What People are saying about this

Ellen Ross
Names and Stories is a fruitful alliance of detailed and generous primary-source research with sophisticated post-modern readings of text; of traditional and 'literary turn' history; and of biography and cultural history. Part of the new school of feminist life-story writing which refuses a continuous, unified recital of its subject, Israel's book on Emilia Dilke (in all her incarnations) is nonetheless wonderfully thorough at retrieving the thousands of texts (including nearly a dozen novels, beginning with Middlemarch) woven around her life. I read it with fascination.
— Ramapo College of New Jersey
Susan K. Kent
Israel has produced an unusual treatment of the life of Lady Emilia Dilke, an actor of importance and interest to scholars of Victorian high politics, art, social reform, and feminism. Much more than a 'life and times of...' work, this book demonstrates the integral, textual connections between the stories Dilke told about herself and others and the political, personal, private, cultural, and social life in Victorian Britain. Based upon a vast array of little-used primary materials, it offers an original and stimulating interpretation of both Emilia Dilke's life stories and the use of her life stories to achieve other ends. Israel is among a select group of scholars who seek to broaden and open the possibilities of biography. This is an impressive achievement.
— University of Colorado
James Epstein
This is a remarkable work of interdisciplinary scholarship. By exploring narrative representations of the life of the extraordinary Victorian Emilia Dilke, Professor Israel upsets what is often the most conservative form of history writing--biography. This is 'biographical' writing in a truly postmodern key. The author uses Dilke as a complex site for addressing important questions about gender, class, politics, social performance, the body, erotic desire, and how we make historical sense of such things. Kali Israel's study is controversial in the best sense, inviting readers to rethink methods of interpretation and understanding.
— Vanderbilt University
Peter Stansky
This is an impressive and intriguing post-modernist biographical disquisition providing much insight into the life and world of Francis Pattison/Emilia Dilke, art historian, trade unionist, fictionalist, and wife of two problematical Victorians, Mark Pattison and Sir Charles Dilke. The study is set within a rich palimpsest of 19th-century provessional life and sexuality.
— Stanford University

Meet the Author

Kali Israel was educated at Lewis and Clark College and Rutgers University. She is Associate Professor of History at the University of Michigan.

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