BN.com Gift Guide

Nobody's Angels: Middle-Class Women and Domestic Ideology in Victorian Culture

Paperback (Print)
Used and New from Other Sellers
Used and New from Other Sellers
from $19.00
Usually ships in 1-2 business days
(Save 36%)
Other sellers (Paperback)
  • All (8) from $19.00   
  • New (5) from $21.61   
  • Used (3) from $19.00   

Overview

Victoria's accession to the throne in 1837 coincided with the birth of a now notorious gender stereotype—the "Angel in the House." Comparing the position of real women—from the Queen of England to middle-class housewives—with their status as household angels, Elizabeth Langland explores a complex image of femininity in Victorian culture.

Langland offers provocative readings of nineteenth-century fiction as well as a rare glimpse into etiquette guides, home management manuals, and cookbooks. She traces the implications of a profound contradiction: although the home was popularly depicted as a private moral haven, running the middle-class household—which included at least one servant—was in fact an exercise in class management. Drawing on the work of Foucault, Benjamin, and Bourdieu, and of recent feminist theorists, Langland considers novels by Dickens, Gaskell, Oliphant. and Eliot, as well as the memoirs of Hannah Cullwick, a former domestic servant who married a middle-class man.

Langland discovers that the middle-class wife assumed a more complex and important function than has previously been recognized. With her substantial power veiled in myth, the Victorian angel mastered skills that enabled her to support a rigid class system; at the same time, however, her achievements unobtrusively set the stage for a feminist revolution. Nobody's Angels reconstructs a disturbing picture of social change that depended as much on protecting class inequity as on promoting gender equality.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"Langland's account is deeply provocative, and it is elaborated with great intellectual integrity. . . . Her readings are astute, and her dexterity at balancing strong claims about gender and class against her theoretical fidelity to the demands of writing a discontinuous, non-traditional account of cultural politics is impressive and instructive. Nobody's Angels is, without doubt, essential reading for students of nineteenth-century culture, and it will significantly alter the ways we reconcile the ideologies of public and private spheres."—John Kucich, Novel: A Forum on Fiction (Spring 1996)

Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780801482205
  • Publisher: Cornell University Press
  • Publication date: 4/1/1995
  • Series: Reading Women Writing Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 288
  • Product dimensions: 5.97 (w) x 8.86 (h) x 0.72 (d)

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
1 Introduction 1
2 Material Angels: Wings of Clay 24
Constructing the Middle Class 25
Policing the Social Borders 31
Dressing the Part 34
Putting on the Ritz 39
Be It Ever So Humble 41
Representing Difference 45
God Helps Those Who Help Themselves 49
God's in His Heaven - All's Right with the World! 54
Charity Begins at Home 56
Folk Festivals of Capitalism 60
3 England's Domestic Queen and Her Queenly Domestic Other 62
Her Majesty's a Pretty Nice Girl 62
The Bourgeois Aristocrat 65
The Queen Is in the Parlour 68
Nurture Will Out 77
4 Charles Dickens's Angels of Competence 80
David Copperfield's Second Chance 82
Esther Summerson's Bleak House II: The Sequel 88
Little Dorrit: From Bourgeois Prison to Bourgeois Palace 97
Our Mutual Friend: Willful Bella Wilfer's Reformation by Housekeeping 104
5 Elizabeth Gaskell's Angels with a Twist 113
The Sufficient Ladies of Cranford 117
Wives and Daughters in Social Circulation 132
6 Margaret Oliphant's Parliamentary Angels 148
Lucilla Marjoribanks's Social Campaigns 154
Phoebe Junior's Performance of Middle-Class Ladyhood 171
7 Inventing Reality: The Ideological Commitments of George Eliot's Middlemarch 183
Canon Fodder 184
Middlemarch: The Devil Is in the Details 188
8 Hannah Cullwick: Deity of Dirt 209
The Housemaid's Tale 210
Dirt and Distinction 214
A Fussy Fine Lady 217
9 New Women in Old Guises 222
Evelina: From Birth to Breeding 222
Emma: From Noblesse Oblige to La Bourgeoise Corrige 225
The Course of True Ideology Never Did Run Smooth 233
Gissing's Odd Women: Old Wine in New Bottles 240
By Way of Conclusion 246
Works Consulted 251
Index 263
Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(0)

4 Star

(0)

3 Star

(0)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(0)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

    If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
    Why is this product inappropriate?
    Comments (optional)