First published in 1978, this multi-disciplinary study embraces a wide selection of topics ranging from family intimacy and authoritarianism to the family as a unit for launching social reforms. Subjects treated in the nine essays include the Victorian attitude to childbirth, the role of the nanny, the power of the upper-class paterfamilias, the pattern of family work and fertility, and incest among the Victorian working classes. The book is introduced by a critical survey of the state of family history and the need for new studies.
From the essays, the Victorian family emerges as both a refuge from society and a springboard into it, and as an important unit for the study of the repression and exploitation of women and children in Victorian society.
This book will be of interest to those studying Victorian history and society.
1. Introduction Anthony S. Wohl; Part One; 2. ‘Temple and Sewer’: Childbirth, Prudery and Victorian Regina John Hawkins Miller 3. ‘As the Twig is Bent’: the Victorian Nanny Theresa McBride 4. The Paterfamilias of the Victorian Governing Classes David Roberts 5. Love and Possession in a Victorian Household: the Example of the Ruskins Michael Brooks 6. Family Secrets and Domestic Subversion: Rebellion in the Novels of the 1860s Elaine Showalter; Part Two; 7. Victorian Reform as a Family Business: the Hill Family Deborah Gorham 8. Family Disintegration and Creative Reintegration: the Case of Charlotte Bontë and ‘Jane Eyre’ Maurianne Adams 9. The Family and the Mill: Cotton Mill Work, Family Work Patterns and Fertility in Mid-Victorian Stockport R. Burr-Litchfield 10. Sex and the Single Room: Incest among the Victorian Working Classes Anthony S. Wohl; Contributors; Index