From Spinster to Career Woman

From Spinster to Career Woman

Author: Arlene Young

Publisher: McGill-Queen's Press - MQUP

ISBN: 9780773558496

Category: History


View: 375

The late Victorian period brought a radical change in cultural attitudes toward middle-class women and work. Anxiety over the growing disproportion between women and men in the population, combined with an awakening desire among young women for personal and financial freedom, led progressive thinkers to advocate for increased employment opportunities. The major stumbling block was the persistent conviction that middle-class women - "ladies" - could not work without relinquishing their social status. Through media reports, public lectures, and fictional portrayals of working women, From Spinster to Career Woman traces advocates' efforts to alter cultural perceptions of women, work, class, and the ideals of womanhood. Focusing on the archetypal figures of the hospital nurse and the typewriter, Arlene Young analyzes the strategies used to transform a job perceived as menial into a respected profession and to represent office work as progressive employment for educated women. This book goes beyond a standard examination of historical, social, and political realities, delving into the intense human elements of a cultural shift and the hopes and fears of young women seeking independence. Providing new insights into the Victorian period, From Spinster to Career Woman captures the voices of ordinary women caught up in the frustrations and excitements of a new era.

Inside Out

Inside Out


Publisher: BRILL

ISBN: 9789401206174

Category: Social Science

Page: 366

View: 340

The incursions of women into areas from which they had been traditionally excluded, together with the literary representations of their attempts to negotiate, subvert and appropriate these forbidden spaces, is the underlying theme that unites this collection of essays. Here scholars from Australia, Greece, Great Britain, Spain, Switzerland and the United States reconsider the well-entrenched assumptions associated with the public/private distinction, working with the notions of public and private spheres while testing their currency and exploring their blurred edges. The essays cover and uncover a rich variety of spaces, from the slums and court-rooms of London to the American wilderness, from the Victorian drawing-room and sick-room to out of the ordinary places like Turkish baths and the trenches of the First World War. Where previous studies have tended to focus on a single aspect of women’s engagement with space, this edited book reveals a plethora of subtle and tenacious strategies found in a variety of discourses that include fiction, poetry, diaries, letters, essays and journalism. Inside Out goes beyond the early work on artistic explorations of gendered space to explore the breadth of the field and its theoretical implications.

Postal Pleasures

Postal Pleasures

Author: Kate Thomas

Publisher: Oxford University Press

ISBN: 9780199755745

Category: Literary Criticism

Page: 264

View: 389

In 1889 uniformed post-boys were discovered moonlighting in a West End brothel frequented by men of the upper classes. "The Cleveland Street Scandal" erupted and Victorian Britain faced the possibility that the Post Office-a bureaucratic backbone of nation and empire-was inspiring and servicing subversive sexual behavior. However, the unlikely alliance between sex and the postal service was not exactly the news the sensational press made it out to be. Postal Pleasures explores the relationship between illicit sex and the Royal Mail from reforms initiated in 1840 up to the imperial end of the nineteenth century. With a combination of historical details and literary analyses, Kate Thomas illustrates how the postal network, its uniformed employees, and its material trappings-envelopes, postmarks, stamps-were used to signal and circulate sexual intrigue. For many, the idea of an envelope promiscuously jostling its neighbors in a post boy's bag, or the notion that secrets passed through the eyes and fingers of telegraph girls, was more stimulating than the actual contents of correspondence. Writers like Anthony Trollope, Eliza Lynn Lynton, Henry James, Oscar Wilde, Arthur Conan Doyle, and others, invoked the postal system as both an instrument and a metaphor for sexual relations that crossed and double-crossed lines of class, marriage, and heterosexuality. Postal Pleasures adds a new dimension to studies of the era as it uncovers the unlikely linkage between the Victorian Post Office and the queer networks it inspired.