While the image of bourgeois Victorian women as 'angels in the house' isolated from the world in private domesticity has long been dismissed as an unrealistic ideal, women have remained marginalised in many recent accounts of the public culture of the middle class. Simon Morgan aims to redress the balance, by drawing on a variety of sources including private documents, he argues that women actually played an important role in the formation of the public identity of the Victorian middle class. Through their support for cultural and philanthropic associations and their engagement in political campaigns, women developed a nascent civic identity, which for some informed their later demands for political rights. "Middle Class Women and Victorian Public Culture" offers numerous insights for the reader into the public lives of women in this fascinating period.
Simon Morgan is the Research Officer for The Letters of Richard Cobden project at the University of East Anglia. Since 2000 he has been visiting lecturer at the Universities of York, Leeds and Huddersfield.