Images of the Woman Reader in Victorian British and American Fiction
By: Catherine J. Golden (author)Hardback
1 - 2 weeks availability
For Victorian women, danger lurked between the covers of a book. In an exploration of this controversial notion, Catherine Golden examines women and reading in literary and visual representations in Britain and America. Illustrated with 42 pictures by popular and renowned artists of the era, her study aims to bring to life the world of the 19th- and early-20th-century female reader. While industrialization was transforming print culture, Victorian women on both sides of the Atlantic made great strides in education, and reading came to be seen as a mark of gentility and a means to promote family unity. But at the same time, a perceived association between excessive novel reading and ill health raised alarm: the prospect of unchecked reading coupled with an overactive imagination led critics to debate if, what, when, where and why middle- and upper-class women should read. Golden presents a concise historical framework of the topic and examines how authors and illustrators responded to the arguments for and against women's reading.
She discusses heroines in both popular and intellectual works by writers such as Charles Dickens, Charlotte and Emily Bronte, George Eliot, William Makepeace Thackeray, Louisa May Alcott, Mark Twain, Charlotte Perkins Gilman and Henry James, and depictions of the woman reader by prominent illustrators such as George Cruikshank, Jessie Willcox Smith, and Hablot Knight Browne. She also includes biographies of both authors and illustrators and analyses how they used reading as a literary, expressive, or political device.
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- ID: 9780813026794
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