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The Woman Reader, 1837-1914

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Overview

Why was the topic of women and reading so controversial for the Victorians and Edwardians? What was it assumed that women read, and what advice was given about where, when, and how to read? Kate Flint examines texts ranging from fiction, painting, and poetry, through medical and psychoanalytic works, advice manuals and periodicals, to autobiographies and contemporary social research, in her detailed and readable study of this central cultural debate in nineteenth-century society. Engaging also with debates in recent feminist theory, she explores the manipulation of the figure of the woman reader in well-known works like Charlotte Bronte's Shirley and Virginia Woolf's The Voyage Out, in sensation novels and New Woman fiction, and in stories found in series such as The Princess's Novelettes. This is supported by evidence from actual readers - working women, as well as the privileged - as to how they understood their own highly varied reading experiences. This ground-breaking work provides an invaluable source for scholars and students of nineteenth-century culture, and will be essential reading for all interested in current critical debates on women and reading.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"The firm historical perspective combined with vivid, bristling detail makes The Woman Reader valuable as well as interesting....The range of sources is staggering....Utterly engrossing, not only as history but as a clue to categories of 'woman reader' today."--The Independent

"Flint's book is of incalculable value. She is excellent at summarizing what Victorian and twentieth-century critics and theorists have assumed about women readers; summarizing what we can actually deduce on the basis of the evidence available; and then pointing to the discrepancies."--Victorian Review

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780198121855
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 1/28/1996
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 382
  • Product dimensions: 9.19 (w) x 6.13 (h) x 0.91 (d)

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
1 Introduction 3
2 Theory and Women's Reading 17
3 Victorian and Edwardian Reading 47
4 Medical, Physiological, and Psychoanalytic Theory 53
5 Advice Manuals, Informative Works, and Instructional Articles 71
6 Reading at School 118
7 Reading in the Periodical Press 137
8 Reading Practices 187
9 Fictional Reading 253
10 Sensation Fiction 274
11 'New Woman' Fiction 294
12 Conclusion 321
Bibliography 331
Index 353
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