Victorian Heroines: Representations of Femininity in Nineteenth-Century Literature and Art

Victorian Heroines: Representations of Femininity in Nineteenth-Century Literature and Art

by Kimberley Reynolds, Nicola Humble
     
 

ISBN-10: 0814773613

ISBN-13: 9780814773611

Pub. Date: 11/01/1993

Publisher: New York University Press

Kimberley Reynolds and Nicola Humble here provide a radical revision of Victorian constructions of femininity. Using a wide range of textual examples (including children's literature, sensations fiction, diaries, and autobiography) as well as visual illustrations, Victorian Heroines offers a new look at the representation of women and sexuality in

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Overview

Kimberley Reynolds and Nicola Humble here provide a radical revision of Victorian constructions of femininity. Using a wide range of textual examples (including children's literature, sensations fiction, diaries, and autobiography) as well as visual illustrations, Victorian Heroines offers a new look at the representation of women and sexuality in nineteenth-century literature and painting.

Arguing against the conventional dyadic model that interprets Victorian fiction in terms of a rigid distinction between the good and bad, the sexual and asexual woman, the authors suggest a more complex paradigm, simultaneously concealing and revealing contradictory attitudes to Victorian womanhood.

The book explores the highly erotic fantasy elements frequently found in widely disseminated orthodox female images, and effectively demonstrates how both male and female writers used similar techniques to subvert this orthodoxy. Drawing on contemporary critical and cultural theories, Victorian Heroines is a lucid and accessible analysis of the depiction of women during this period, challenging the prevalent views of recent decades.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780814773611
Publisher:
New York University Press
Publication date:
11/01/1993
Pages:
288
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 5.00(d)

Table of Contents

List of illustrations
Acknowledgements
Introduction: All dipt in angel instincts: Victorian heroines and the feminine ideal, or, ideal no more1
Ch. 1Purity or danger: Sexuality and the development of the Victorian girl10
Ch. 2The old woman in new clothes?: Sexual and body politics post-184838
Ch. 3Sightless seers: Decadence and representations of femininity62
Ch. 4Strange sensations: The aberrant heroines of sensation fiction98
Ch. 5Private 'I's and 'I'-lessness: Autobiographical constructions of the feminine self133
Notes165
Bibliography179
Index190

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