1st Edition

Aestheticism and the Marriage Market in Victorian Popular Fiction The Art of Female Beauty

By Kirby-Jane Hallum Copyright 2015
    240 Pages
    by Routledge

    228 Pages
    by Routledge

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    Based on close readings of five Victorian novels, Hallum presents an original study of the interaction between popular fiction, the marriage market and the aesthetic movement. She uses the texts to trace the development of aestheticism, examining the differences between the authors, including their approach, style and gender. Wider issues concerning Victorian womanhood, marriage and commodity culture are also explored. This book will be of interest to scholars of book history as well as literature and nineteenth-century society.

    Introduction: The Art of Female Beauty in Context 1. ‘Two Lovers to Decide their Rival Claim to the Possession of My Person’: Rhoda Broughton’s Cometh up as a Flower 2. The ‘Aesthetics of Love’ in George Meredith’s The Egoist 3. ‘A Lovely Woman Whom He Hath Bought’: The Market for Aestheticized Commodities in Ouida’s Moths 4. ‘I Love Beauty – And I Study it wherever I find it, Dead or Living’: Marie Corelli’s Wormwood 5. ‘Love for Love’s Sake’: George du Maurier’s Trilby Conclusion: Beyond Beauty


    Kirby-Jane Hallum received her PhD in English from the University of Auckland, New Zealand. Her research interests lie in the long 19th century, with particular focus on women's and popular literature, and her recent publications in Literature Compass, Women’s Writing and Victorian Network reflect dual interests in Britain and New Zealand. She is currently embarking on a new project regarding Britain's influence on colonial New Woman writing.

    "This comprehensively researched book surveys the tendency to fetishize and commodify the female body during the aesthetic movement." --Talia Schaffer, Queens College and the Graduate Center, CUNY, Review 19

    "Hallum’s first monograph is promising and contains fascinating insights into the evolution of aestheticism and its effects on popular conceptions of female beauty…This is a useful volume for scholars interested in the role of nature and artifice in relation to female beauty and aestheticism." --Laura Chilcoat, University of Florida, The Latchkey

    “In Aestheticism and the Marriage Market in Victorian Popular Fiction, Kirby-Jane Hallum situates this familiar narrative in the context of British aestheticism and its images of women as beautiful objects. Drawing on the work of such feminist scholars as Talia Schaffer and Kathy Psomiades, Hallum contributes to the study of gender and aestheticism by examining the influence of the movement, in its various late-Victorian permutations, on literary representations of the economics of marriage.” - Tamar Heller, University of Cincinnati, Nineteenth-Century Gender Studies