Time is of the Essence

Time is of the Essence

by Patricia Murphy
     
 

In Time Is of the Essence, Patricia Murphy argues that the Victorian debate on the Woman Question was informed by a crucial but as yet unexplored element at the fin de siecle: the cultural construction of time. Victorians were obsessed with time in this century of incessant change, responding to such diverse developments as Darwinism, a newfound faith in progress, an… See more details below

Overview

In Time Is of the Essence, Patricia Murphy argues that the Victorian debate on the Woman Question was informed by a crucial but as yet unexplored element at the fin de siecle: the cultural construction of time. Victorians were obsessed with time in this century of incessant change, responding to such diverse developments as Darwinism, a newfound faith in progress, an unprecedented fascination with history and origins, and the nascent discipline of evolutionary psychology. The works examined here - novels by Thomas Hardy, Olive Schreiner, H. Rider Haggard, Sarah Grand, and Mona Caird - manipulate prevalent discourses on time to convey anxieties over gender, which intensified in the century's final decades with the appearance of the rebellious New Woman. Unmasking the intricate relationship between time and gender that threaded through these and other works of the period, Murphy reveals that the cultural construction of time, which was grounded in the gender-charged associations of history, progress, Christianity, and evolution, served as a powerful vehicle for reinforcing rigid boundaries between masculinity and femininity. In the process, she also covers a number of other important and intriguing topics, including the effects of rail travel on Victorian perceptions of time and the explosion of watch production throughout the period.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780791451090
Publisher:
State University of New York Press
Publication date:
09/28/2001
Series:
SUNY series, Studies in the Long Nineteenth Century Series
Pages:
299
Product dimensions:
6.10(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.90(d)

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
Ch. 1Introduction: Victorian Temporality and the New Woman1
Ch. 2Buttressing the Binary: Temporal Dichotomies in She31
Ch. 3Trapping the Female in Time: History and Aesthetics in Tess of the d'Urbervilles71
Ch. 4Reinterpreting Evolutionary Development: Feminine Psychology in The Beth Book and The Heavenly Twins109
Ch. 5Controlling Women's Time: Regulatory Days and Historical Determinism in The Daughters of Danaus151
Ch. 6Dissolving the Boundaries: Temporal Subversion in The Story of an African Farm189
Afterword: Pointing the Way to Modernist Time227
Notes233
Works Cited259
Index285

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