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Gender and Victorian Reform - Head Work

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Description

Gender, in the nineteenth century as now, is an integral part of identity. As a result, gender, along with race and class, has long been a vital part of public discourse about social concerns and reform. The fourteen essays in Gender and Victorian Reform address the overt and subtle ways in which gender influenced social reform in Victorian England. In addition to investigating the more readily apparent instances of gender in the areas of suffrage, women's education, and marriage law reform, the contributors to this collection examine the structure of charitable organizations, the interpretation of language and literacy, ideas of beauty, and religion through the lens of gender and offer diverse approaches to Victorian literature and culture. Some examine specific texts or single canonical authors, others introduce the reader to little-known authors and texts, and still others focus on the culture of reform rather than specific literary texts.

Essays are arranged into four parts, with Part I focusing on historical context and a revisioning of the historical romance. Part II addresses more specifically the role of women in public life and in the professions. The essays in Part III look even more specificallyat the connections among reform, gender, literacy and literary genre in Eliot, Collins, and Gaskell. The final four essays offer readings of the impact of gender ideology on beauty, dress, politics and religion.

Taken as a whole, the essays in this collection present a serious consideration of the role of gender in art and in public life that spans the Victorian era. Reformist impulses are revealed in a number of Victorian texts that are not generally read as overtly political. In this way, this collection thoughtfully focuses on the influence of gender on a wide range of social movements, and moves the significance of gender beyond simply the content of Victorian fiction and the identity of the authors and into the more fundamental connection of discourse to reform."

Author Biography

Anita Rose is an Associate Professor of English at Converse College in Spartanburg, South Carolina, where she is also currently chair of the English and Creative and Professional Writing Department. She received her Ph.D. in Nineteenth Century British and American Literature from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. She has published essays and reviews in English Literature in Transition and Fighting the Forces: What’s At Stake in Buffy the Vampire Slayer. She has also published in numerous reference works, including the Encyclopedia of Prostitution; Dictionary of Literary Biography; Companion to the British Short Story; Essays of Literary Criticism; and Men and Masculinities: A social, cultural, and historical encyclopedia. Her research and teaching interests include sensation fiction, feminist utopian writing, and current popular culture. She hosted the 2006 Victorians Institute Conference.
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