The New Woman

The New Woman
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Sally Ledger
328 g
216x140x13 mm

Sexually transgressive, politically astute and determined to claim educational and employment rights equal to those enjoyed by men, the new woman took centre stage in the cultural landscape of late-Victorian Britain. By comparing the fictional representations with the lived experience of the new woman, Ledger's book makes a major contribution to an understanding of the 'woman question' at the fin de siecle. She alights on such disparate figures as Eleanor Marx, Gertrude Dix, Dracula, Oscar Wilde, Olive Schreiner and Radclyffe Hall. Focusing mainly on the last two decades of the nineteenth century, the book's later chapters project forward into the twentieth century, considering the relationship between new woman fiction and early modernism as well as the socio-sexual inheritance of the 'second generation' new woman writers.
Part 1 Who was the new woman?: the naming of the new woman; the dominant discourse on the new woman; the reverse discourse on the new woman; feminism, revolution and evolution in "The Daughters of Danaus" by Mona Caird (1894). Part 2 The new woman and socialism: the class identity of the new woman; feminism and socialism at the "fin de siecle"; political tracts - Eleanor Marx and Edward Aveling, "The Woman Question" (1886), Olive Schreiner, "Woman and Labour" (1911); socialism, feminism and literary realism - Margaret Harkness, "A City Girl" (1887); the uses of Utopia - Jane Hume Clapperton, "Margaret Dummore, or, A Socialist Home" (1888), Isabella Ford, "On the Threshold" (1895), Gertrude Dix, "The Image Breakers" (1900). Part 3 Unlikely bedfellows? feminism and imperalism at the "fin de siecle": white women and imperalism; the case of Olive Schreiner; "The Woman Question" (1899); "The Story of an African Farm" (1883) and "The Child's Day" (1887); "Trooper Peter Halket of Mashonaland" (1897). Part 4 The daughters of decadence?: the new woman, the decadent and the dandy; the new woman as sexual decadent - "Dracula" by Bram Stoker (1897); Oscar Wilde and the new woman; feminism, social purity and "The Heavenly Twins" (1893). Part 5 The new woman and emergent lesbian identity: feminism and same-sex love; from romantic friendship to lesbian pathology; George Meredith's "Diana of the Crossways" (1885) - the limits of romantic friendship; lesbian pathology in "A Drama in Muslin" by George Moore (1886); the 20th century inheritance - lesbian sexuality in "The Well of Loneliness" (1928) by Radclyffe Hall. Part 6 The new woman in the modern city: women, the "flaneuse" and public space; the "modern woman" in the city - Ella Hepworth Dixon, "The Story of a Modern Woman" (1894); shopgirls and new woman in the city - George Gissing, "The Odd Woman" (1893); women in public - Henry James, "The Bostonians" (1886). Part 7 The new woman, modernism and mass culture: the feminization of culture at the "fin de siecle"; the new woman, modernism and "feminine" writing; finding an aesthetic for the new woman - Sue Bridehead and "Jude the Obscure"; George Egerton, modernism and feminist aesthetics.

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