Why were the Victorians so passionate about "History"?
How did this passion relate to another Victorian obsession – the "woman question"? In a brilliant and provocative study, Christina Crosby investigates the links between the Victorians’ fascination with "history" and with the nature of "women."
Discussing both key novels and non-literary texts – Daniel Deronda and Hegel’s Philosophy of History; Henry Esmond and Macaulay’s History of England; Little Dorrit, Wilkie Collins’ The Frozen Deep, and Mayhew’s survey of "labour and the poor"; Villette, Patrick Fairburn’s The Typology of Scripture and Ruskin’s Modern Painters – she argues that the construction of middle-class Victorian "man" as the universal subject of history entailed the identification of "women" as those who are before, beyond, above, or below history. Crosby’s analysis raises a crucial question for today’s feminists – how can one read historically without replicating the problem of nineteenth century "history"?
The book was first published in 1991.