Domesticity, Imperialism and Emigration in the Victorian Novel

Domesticity, Imperialism and Emigration in the Victorian Novel

By: Diana C. Archibald (author)Hardback

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During the 19th century, as British citizens left England for the New Worlds, hearth and home were moved from the heart of the Empire to its very outskirts. This volume explores how this affected the ways in which Victorians both promoted and undermined the ideal of the domestic woman. Drawing upon works by Elizabeth Gaskell, Anthony Trollope, Samuel Butler and Charles Dickens, it shows how the ideals of womanhood and home promoted by domestic ideology in many ways conflict with the arguement in favour of emigration to imperial destinations. A pattern emerges in almost every Victorian novel that encounters the New Worlds: if an English hero to be happy, he either marries an English angel-wife and brings her with him to the New World, or, abandons thoughts of settling abroad and returns to England to marry. This pattern seems to support the supposedly complementary ideologies of domesticity and imperialism. The literary texts, however, reveal much ambivalence toward this domestic ideal. Female emigrants were desperately needed in the colonies; thus, a woman's imperial duty was to leave England. Yet her womanly duty told her to remain an untainted idol beside an English hearthside.

About Author

Diana C. Archibald is Assistant Professor of English at the University of Massachusetts-Lowell.

Product Details

  • ISBN13: 9780826214003
  • Format: Hardback
  • Number Of Pages: 232
  • ID: 9780826214003
  • ISBN10: 0826214002

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