This collection of essays, both feminist and historical, analyzes power relations between men and women in the Victorian period. This volume is the first to reshape Victorian studies from the perspective of the postmodern return to history, and is variously influenced by Marxism, sociology, anthropology, and post-structuralist theories of language and subjectivity. It analyzes the struggle for legitimacy and recognition in Victorian institutions and the struggle over meanings in ideological representation of the gendered subject in texts.
Contributors cover diverse topics, including Victorian ideologies of motherhood, the male gaze, the cult of the male child genius in narrative painting, the press, and Victorian women and the French Revolution, discussing both well-known and less familiar Victorian texts.
1. Engendering History for the Middle Class: Sex and Political Economy in the Edinburgh Review Judith Newton 2. From Trope to Code: The Novel and the Rhetoric of Gender in Nineteenth-century Critical Discourse Ina Ferris 3. Demonic Mothers: Ideologies of Bourgeois Motherhood in the Mid-Victorian Era Sally Shuttleworth 4. Water Rights and the "Crossing o’ Breeds": Chiastic Exchange in The Mill on the Floss Jules Law 5. Tess, Tourism, and the Spectacle of the Woman Jeff Nunokawa 6. "To Tell the Truth of Sex": Confession and Abjection in Late Victorian Writing Marion Shaw 7. Reading the Gothic Revival: "History" and Hints on Household Taste Christina Crosby 8. Excluding Women: The Cult of the Male Genius in Victorian Painting Susan P. Casteras 9. Of Maenads, Mothers, and Feminized Males: Victorian Readings of the French Revolution Linda M. Shires 10. The "Female Paternalist" as Historian: Elizabeth Gaskell’s My Lady Ludlow Christine L. Krueger. Afterword: Ideology and the Subject as Agent Linda M. Shires