relationships and the home
In September 1965, an article entitled ‘Myth – or unpalatable fact?’
appeared in the lesbian magazine, Arena Three.The author, calling themselves
‘Commutator’, cited a statistic from a recent television programme which
had claimed that 93 per cent of marriages remained intact. Reflecting on
whether the same could be said of lesbian relationships, ‘Commutator’
Wouldn’t you say … that the ‘average’ lesbian is – if you want to compare
her with the heterosexual world – most closely similar to the het
Voluntary women’s organisations and the women’s movement 1950–64
Domesticity, modernity and women’s rights:
voluntary women’s organisations and
the women’s movement 1950–64
What is a wife? A woman who sets jam to jell, children to rights and her
hair for a Saturday night out … why does she do it? Because somebody
thinks she’s wonderful-and she wants to go on keeping it that way.
(Woman, 27 April 1963)
The image of the ‘ideal woman’ flashed on all sides of Magazines …
is of a pretty creature whose highest function is to pamper her skin
and create the ‘house beautiful’ … the assumption [is] that the frilly
Searching for Black Queer Domesticity at Chez Baldwin
Magdalena J. Zaborowska
This essay argues for the importance of James Baldwin’s last house, located in St. Paul-de-Vence in the south of France, to his late works written during the productive period of 1971–87: No Name in the Street (1972), If Beale Street Could Talk (1974), The Devil Finds Work (1976), Just Above My Head (1979), The Evidence of Things Not Seen (1985), and the unpublished play The Welcome Table (1987). That period ushered in a new Baldwin, more complex and mature as an author, who became disillusioned while growing older as a black queer American who had no choice but to live abroad to get his work done and to feel safe. Having established his most enduring household at “Chez Baldwin,” as the property was known locally, the writer engaged in literary genre experimentation and challenged normative binaries of race, gender, and sexuality with his conceptions of spatially contingent national identity. The late Baldwin created unprecedented models of black queer domesticity and humanism that, having been excluded from U.S. cultural narratives until recently, offer novel ways to reconceptualize what it means to be an American intellectual in the twenty-first-century world.
Gothic Continuities, Feminism and Postfeminism in the Neo-Gothic Film
The article seeks to explore questions of fictional female victimhood by examining feminist and post-feminist critical engagements with the Gothic heroine figure. The paper traces instances of this figure in literary and filmic versions of the ‘female gothic’ narrative, focusing in particular on the female gothic film cycle of the 1940s, in films such as Rebecca (1940) and Suspicion (1941), and the cycles recurrence in more contemporary female-addressed suspense thrillers, such as Deceived (1991), Sleeping with the Enemy (1991), Shadow of Doubt (1998), and What Lies Beneath (2000). The paper reveals that the neo-gothic heroine condenses key issues pertinent to shifts in feminist and post-feminist critique, such as woman-as-victim, negotiations about the meanings of femininity, and the relationship between women and domestic space.
The essay interrogates a range of critically neglected nineteenth-century anthologies, periodicals and yellowbacks to reveal the ways in which ephemeral Gothic narratives contributed revealingly and troublingly to the public understanding of medicine across the nineteenth century and not just during the fin de siècle. By addressing how narratives of everyday medical encounters and interventions were immersed in contemporary anxieties about the nature of medicine and the role of the practitioner, the authors draw attention to how the figure of the practitioner is increasingly problematized until he himself becomes a locus of pathological disturbance, creating a set of images associated with medicine, practitioners and the everyday that proved culturally enduring across nineteenth-century culture.
In recent criticism, Jane Austen‘s Northanger Abbey has been reconsidered as a comic
rather than mock-Gothic novel, shifting its mockery onto a variety of other targets:
domineering men, unwary readers, the violence underpinning English domesticity. I argue
that Austen continues her engagement with the Gothic, beyond Northanger Abbey, using Emma
as an exemplary case. Emma not only includes explicit mentions of Gothic novels such as
Ann Radcliffe‘s The Romance of the Forest, but implicitly reformulates the relationships
between Female Gothic figures: finding a frail, victimised heroine in Jane Fairfax and a
seductive femme fatale in Emma herself.
Sensationalising Substance Abuse in the Victorian Home
Controversies about the mid-Victorian sensation novel newly brought to the fore clinical conceptualisations of novel reading as an addiction. Yet as novelists capitalised on the sensational potential of substance abuse at home as part of the genre‘s rupture of ideologies of domesticity, they juxtaposed the consumption of sensational material with other emotional and physical dependencies, while reading could be a panacea or cure. M. E. Braddon‘s John Marchmont‘s Legacy (1863) and Wilkie Collins‘s The Law and the Lady (1875) form particularly revealing examples of self-reflexive sensation novels that capitalise on a clinical Gothic of addiction by appropriating discourses that had, ironically, attacked the sensation genre most virulently.
This book situates women at the centre of the practices and policies of British imperialism. Rebutting interpretations that have marginalised women in the empire, the book demonstrates that women were crucial to establishing and sustaining the British Raj in India from the 'High Noon' of imperialism in the late nineteenth century through to Indian independence in 1947. Using three separate modes of engagement with imperialism: domesticity, violence and race, it demonstrates the varied ways in which British women, particularly the wives of imperial officials, created a role for themselves. From the late nineteenth century, Anglo-Indians constructed an idea of family and marriage that was, both literally and metaphorically, the foundation for British imperialism in India. Although imperial marriage was very modern in its emphasis on companionship and partnership, it also incorporated more traditional ideas about husbands, wives and families. The politicized imperial home stood in sharp contrast to the ideal of middle-class British domesticity that had developed from the late-eighteenth century onwards in the metropole. Relationships with Indian servants, created and maintained primarily by women, were a complex mixture of intimacy and trust counterbalanced by feelings of fear and suspicion. For Anglo-Indians, the Mutiny served as a constant reminder of the tenuous nature of imperialism in India. The relationship between Anglo-Indian and Indian women was complex coloured by expectations about femininity and women's role in the empire. Indian men may have derided Anglo-Indian women as 'brainless memsahibs', but the British government similarly scorned their contribution to empire.
In a theatre that self-consciously cultivated its audiences' imagination, how and what did playgoers ‘see’ on the stage? This book reconstructs one aspect of that imaginative process, considering a range of printed and documentary evidence for the way ordinary individuals thought about their houses and households. It then explores how writers of domestic tragedies engaged those attitudes to shape their representations of domesticity. The book therefore offers a way of understanding theatrical representations based around a truly interdisciplinary study of the interaction between literary and historical methods. The opening chapters use household manuals, court depositions, wills and inventories to reconstruct the morality of household space and its affective meanings, and to explore ways of imaging these spaces. Further chapters discuss Arden of Faversham, Two Lamentable Tragedies, A Woman Killed With Kindness and A Yorkshire Tragedy, considering how the dynamics of the early modern house were represented on the stage. They identify a grammar of domestic representation stretching from subtle identifications of location to stage properties and the use of stage space. Investigating the connections between the seen and the unseen, between secret and revelation, between inside and outside, household and community, these plays are shown to offer a uniquely developed domestic mimesis.
This book explores the contribution that five conservative, voluntary and popular women’s organisations made to women’s lives and to the campaign for women’s rights throughout the period 1928 to 1964. The five groups included in this study are: the Mothers’ Union, the Catholic Women’s League, the National Council of Women, the National Federation of Women’s Institutes and the National Union of Townswomen’s Guilds. The book challenges existing histories of the women’s movement that suggest the movement went into decline during the inter-war period only to be revived by the emergence of the Women’s Liberation Movement in the late 1960s. It is argued that the term women’s movement must be revised to allow a broader understanding of female agency encompassing feminist, political, religious and conservative women’s groups who campaigned to improve the status of women throughout the twentieth century. This book provides an analysis of the way in which these five voluntary women’s organisations adopted the concept of democratic citizenship, with its rights and duties, to legitimate their demands for reform. Their involvement in a number of campaigns relating to social, welfare and economic rights is explored and assessed. The book provides a radical re-assessment of this period of women’s history and in doing so makes a significant contribution to on-going debates about the shape and the impact of the women’s movement in twentieth century Britain. The book is essential reading for those interested in modern British history and the history of the women’s movement.