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Other Women

Other Women: The Writing of Class, Race, and Gender, 1832-1898

ANITA LEVY
Copyright Date: 1991
Pages: 184
https://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt7zvtrp
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    Other Women
    Book Description:

    In this ambitious work Anita Levy exposes certain forms of middle-class power that have been taken for granted as "common sense" and "laws of nature." Joining an emergent tradition of cultural historians who draw on Gramsci and Foucault, she shows how middle-class hegemony in the nineteenth century depended on notions of gender to legitimize a culture-specific and class-specific definition of the right and wrong ways of being human. The author examines not only domestic fiction, particularly Emily Bront's Wuthering Heights, but also nineteenth-century works of the human sciences, including sociological tracts, anthropological treatises, medical texts, and psychological studies. She finds that British intellectuals of the period produced gendered standards of behavior that did not so much subordinate women to men as they authorized the social class whose women met norms of "appropriate" behavior: this class was considered to be peculiarly fit to care for other social and cultural groups whose women were "improperly" gendered. When Levy reads fiction against the social sciences, she demonstrates that the history of fiction cannot be understood apart from the history of the human sciences. Both fiction and science share common narrative strategies for representing the "essential" female and "other women"--the prostitute, the "primitive," and the madwoman. Only fiction, however, represented these strategies in an idiom of everyday life that verified "theory" and "science."

    Originally published in 1990.

    ThePrinceton Legacy Libraryuses the latest print-on-demand technology to again make available previously out-of-print books from the distinguished backlist of Princeton University Press. These paperback editions preserve the original texts of these important books while presenting them in durable paperback editions. The goal of the Princeton Legacy Library is to vastly increase access to the rich scholarly heritage found in the thousands of books published by Princeton University Press since its founding in 1905.

    eISBN: 978-1-4008-6165-1
    Subjects: Language & Literature

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
    (pp. ix-2)
  4. Chapter 1 INTRODUCTION: THE MAKING OF DOMESTIC CULTURE
    (pp. 3-19)

    In the course of writing this book something strange began to happen. I found that I was haunted in the still of the night at my desk by what I came to call, for want of a better word, demons. Let me hasten to say that they weren’t the kind many women write about and that drive them to thickly carpeted offices to sit in plush chairs and divulge long pent-up secrets to well-paid therapists. Mine were of a different order, belonging not to the psychological domain, but to that of culture. In short, I found that I was haunted...

  5. Chapter 2 SOCIOLOGY: DISORDER IN THE HOUSE OF THE POOR
    (pp. 20-47)

    In the early nineteenth century in England certain individuals made it their business to involve themselves in the health, living conditions, education, nutrition, and sexual practices of the poor. Philanthropists, reformers, factory commissioners, and doctors were among the most prominent members of this diverse group of middle-class intellectuals and professionals, a class of individuals that is usually not factored into modern history, who felt it necessary to put the houses of the industrial poor in order. To this end they braved the ill-paved, foul-smelling streets and miasmic air of the slums to discover the poor. These poor were known by...

  6. Chapter 3 ANTHROPOLOGY: THE FAMILY OF MAN
    (pp. 48-74)

    When henry mayhew counted thieves and costermongers inLondon Labour and the London Poor,he entered into a well-established trade. While his may not have been the first study to inventory the urban working classes of London, it was, by and large, the most exhaustive and perhaps the most ingenious.¹ With roving eye and eager mind, Mayhew traveled from the heart of London’s East End to the farthest corners of the globe and back to the beginning of recorded history in an effort to catalog “Those Who Will Work,” “Those Who Cannot Work,” and “Those Who Will Not Work.” As...

  7. Chapter 4 DOMESTIC FICTIONS IN THE HOUSEHOLD: WUTHERING HEIGHTS
    (pp. 75-97)

    Charlotte brontë, responding to the outraged critical attack upon her dead sister Emily’sWuthering Heights,reidentified its author as a female in 1850. When the first edition appeared in 1847, reviewers of that sensational book condemned it, calling it “coarse and loathsome,” “strange,” and “repellant.”Wuthering Heights,it seems, had transgressed the borders of good taste and decorum, and in so doing it had jeopardized its fictional authority. To rehabilitate Emily Brontë’s novel, Charlotte turned to a tradition, forged in the first half of the nineteenth century, that had already established a female authorial voice and subject matter as an...

  8. Chapter 5 PSYCHOLOGY: THE OTHER WOMAN AND THE OTHER WITHIN
    (pp. 98-127)

    By the middle of the nineteenth century the English country I house had become a madhouse.¹ In 1844 thirteen out of every ten “thousand English citizens had been officially classified as insane (Scull 1979), with more added to the rosters every year. So designated, they were kept in one of the numerous asylums built throughout the country during the first half of the century, institutions ranging from the sublime to the ridiculous. The largest, most modern, and most costly asylum in England, Colney Hatch Lunatic Asylum, opened its doors in 1851, the same year Queen Victoria inaugurated the Great Exhibition...

  9. Chapter 6 EPILOGUE: MODERNISM, PROFESSIONALISM, AND GENDER
    (pp. 128-132)

    In 1898 havelock ellis rescued sexual fact from “moralistic and sentimental” fiction when he vowed to make it the “main business” of his life “to get to the real natural facts of sex apart from all would-be moralistic or sentimental notions” (1898, 1:ix). His narrative of personal sexual darkness called forth Ellis the psychologist to dispel this gloom of ignorance with the shining light of science, implying that only Ellis the professional could solve the problems besetting Ellis the already-gendered individual. Yet in substituting scientific “facts” for sentimental “notions,” and so rewriting the terms by which individuals understood their sexuality,...

  10. NOTES
    (pp. 133-156)
  11. REFERENCES
    (pp. 157-168)
  12. INDEX
    (pp. 169-174)