Mistress of the House : Women of Property in the Victorian Novel book cover
1st Edition

Mistress of the House
Women of Property in the Victorian Novel

ISBN 9781138267442
Published November 10, 2016 by Routledge
168 Pages

USD $62.95

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Book Description

This exploration of gender and property ownership in eight important novels argues that property is a decisive undercurrent in narrative structures and modes, as well as an important gender signature in society and culture. Tim Dolin suggests that the formal development of nineteenth-century domestic fiction can only be understood in the context of changes in the theory and laws of property: indeed femininity and its representation cannot be considered separately from property relations and their reform. He presents original readings of novels in which a woman owns, acquires or loses property, focusing on exchanges between patriarchal cultural authority, the 'woman question' and narrative form, and on the place of domestic fiction in a culture in which property relations and gender relations are subject to radical review. Each chapter revolves around a representative text, but refers substantially to other material, both other novels and contemporary social, legal, political and feminist commentary.

Table of Contents

Contents: Introduction; Women, property and victorian fiction; A woman, and something more: Shirley; Cranford and its belongings; ’He could get, but not keep’: Villette; Crimes of property: The Moonstone; Hardy’s uncovered women; Mistress of herself: Diana of the Crossways; Appendix 1: A brief summary of the laws concerning women (1854); Appendix 2: The Caroline Norton affair; Bibliography; Index.

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’the readings of [Dolin’s] chosen works..are attentive to both important textual details and relevant historical contexts.’ Nineteenth-Century Literature ’Dolin does not make sustained arguements so much as a series of fine distinctions and evocative insights. But these critical coruscations are so smart, stylish, and thought-provoking, that they are bound to light up bigger ideas for each reader. It is an eciting addition to a rapidly growing field.’ Talia Schaffer, Victorian Studies