I was very interested in how two lives set apart by over a century could be linked … What drew my interest to The Victorian and the Romantic: A Memoir, A Love Story, and a Friendship Across Time was the pitch about “two irresistible true-life romances” set across time. Thank you Emma! Pp. Cloth, £50. 168. Oulton also examines conduct manuals, periodicals, and religious treatises, tracing developments from mid-century to the fin de siècle, when romantic friendship first came under serious attack. Moreover, it was not only the influence of friends and female partners that could affect a woman’s sexuality and identity in this era, as family clearly had a huge impact on the way a young woman created her own identity; most specifically the mother-daughter relationship had an important influence on this. Romantic friendship was often consolidated through the exchange of gifts and letters, and thus, the concept of romantic friendships was far more prominent in these classes than the working class. Written by Lauren Miller. Certainly, if we look at the case of Anne Lister, it was her early relationships with her family, alongside her letter-writing, which had a lasting influence on her sexuality and identity. Oulton is on surer ground in her treatment of female romantic friendships, perhaps because there have been fewer influential readings of novels such as Ethel Arnold's Platonics (1894) or Mary Cholmondeley's Red Pottage (1899). Oulton is willing, however, to entertain exceptions to this pattern of friendship trumped by marriage, such as Mary Elizabeth Braddon's Lady Audley's Secret (1862) where the marriage is destroyed and the romantic friendship between Robert Audley and George Talboys remains intact. Romantic Friendship In Victorian Literature Romantic Friendship In Victorian Literature by Carolyn W. de la L. Oulton. E-bok, 2013. The ability of these women to exchange romantically styled letters contributed to society’s ideas of female sexuality in Victorian Britain. New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 2014. New York and London: New York University Press, 1992. Vicinus, Martha. For example, the prevailing view that such romantic friendship is a preparation for marriage, and "its centrality . Download in PDF, EPUB, and Mobi Format for read it on your Kindle device, PC, phones or tablets. Once college-educated women began entering the workforce, the romantic friendship took place against a new backdrop, which Katherine Anne Porter once described as “a company of Amazons” — those early professional women, the first generations of female doctors, professors, ministers, union organizers, and social workers. Thus, Anne was not given guidance on her role as a female to the same extent as other young girls; her close relationship to her brothers and Uncle, whose estate she wished to inherit, emphasises her lack of feminine guidance. For the working classes, women were often required to work alongside their male counterparts in order to earn enough money to support a family. New York: St Martin’s Press, 2000. Oulton's argument piques the reader's interest when she addresses the conflict, rivalry, and jealousy that inform both male and female friendships, disrupting the saccharine tendencies of the Victorians to portray same-sex friendship as a pre-sexual Eden. Anne’s sexual identity was dominated by her need to play the role of a male in the relationship, as was the case for many other lesbians at the time. Therefore, the relationships between women had an impact on the way society viewed them. Motherhood was a key part of female identity in early modern Britain. Yet despite this attempt to distinguish her approach from queer theory, Romantic Friendship in Victorian Literature remains haunted by the persistent emergence of erotic feeling in the literary friendships she discusses. I was very interested in how two lives set apart by over a century could be linked … Women in British Politics, 1760 – 1860: The Power of the Petticoat. These relationships, she suggests, intensified the idea of the sexes being opposites, whilst also providing a similar relationship as to that which would come through marriage. Between Women: Friendship, Desire and Marriage in Victorian England. However, a few women rejected the idea of domesticity and motherhood, and Anne Lister is a prime example of this. Ellis suggests that female friendship ‘trained women to be good wives by teaching them particularly feminine ways of loving’. The result is a gentle satire on the ways of academia coupled with a painfully credible account of late-twenties love, freighted with all its unanswerable questions about the future. This meant that from a young age, the influence of Anne’s mother had been diminished, and this was further weakened when she was sent to boarding school. . Women in romantic friendships realized that they were participating in behavior that could be viewed as lesbian, and they began to … Find many great new & used options and get the best deals for The Victorian and the Romantic : A Memoir, a Love Story, and a Friendship Across Time by Nell Stevens (2018, Hardcover) at the best online prices at eBay! In her introduction, Oulton announces that "long before the upsurge of gay and lesbian studies, the nineteenth century itself had hosted a long-running debate about the nature and role of friendship in its own right" (1). Mothers and their intimate friends typically took a more important role than fathers in the upbringing of their children, often taking them out; Lady Shelbourne would take her children, Anne and Henry, to visit ‘the Wells’. Friendships that women had with other women had an impact on society’s views of female sexuality and identity. These women’s identities were less affected by their female friends, and more affected by male expectations and influences. Nell Stevens has a degree in English and creative writing from the University of Warwick, an M.F.A. Her book is a persuasive challenge to those who view mid-Victorian England, existing in a state of blissful pre-Freudian innocence, as unproblematically accommodating of passionate same-sex relationships. Anna Clarke tells us that women ‘kissed, embraced, and exchanged intensely romantic letters… society regarded such friendships as perfectly acceptable, even touching’; thus, lesbian relationships could be easily masked. What drew my interest to The Victorian and the Romantic: A Memoir, A Love Story, and a Friendship Across Time was the pitch about “two irresistible true-life romances” set across time. The Nine teenth Century Series. Suffer and be Still: Women in the Victorian Age. At first glance of the identities and sexuality of women in Victorian Britain, one assumes that the Victorians ‘denied, controlled, or muted public expression of active female sexuality’, however in the Victorian era it is clear that women were able to express a certain amount of sexuality through passionate friendships with other women. This idea of female friendship being domesticated, in a way, heightened the idea of women being domestic creatures. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless. Many women can, therefore, be seen as having a more equal footing with men However, Gleadle suggests that in the country, rather than industrial cities, it was the working class who ‘harboured the most oppressive attitudes’ towards female sexuality. British Women in the Nineteenth Century. The University of York Student History Magazine, The York Historian is a student magazine run by and for students at the University of York. Clark, Anna. Your email address will not be published. . It is a publication of the Yorkshire Architectural and York Archaeological Society. Such omissions create the impression that the "gay and lesbian studies" she invokes early on is a straw man or woman, lacking in specificity. Indeed, Victorian novels often showcase how female friendship develops the heroine's positive feminine qualities: sympathy, altruism, loyalty, warmth, even romantic susceptibility. If you would like to authenticate using a different subscribed institution or have your own login and password to Project MUSE. In Victorian Britain, female friendships were often romanticised, allowing women more freedom to express feelings for each other. Historians like Faderman and Robert Brain believe that the descriptions of relationships such as David and Jonathan or Ruth and Naomi in this religious text establish that the customs of romantic friendship existed and were thought of as virtuous in the ancient Near East, despite the simultaneous taboo on homosexuality. Aldershot: Ashgate, 2007. Platonic relationships, according to Aristotle, were the ideal.During this period of time, the idea of the heroic friendship developed. Aristotle and other philosophers extolled the virtues of platonic relationships- a relationship of emotional connection without sexual intimacy. As, for the most part, women had few job prospects, domesticity was one of the things they could devote their life to. Sarah Ellis (author of “The Women of England” and “The Daughters of England”) believed that this reinforced sexual differences between men and women and allowed women to create a virtuous persona for themselves. I’m glad you enjoyed it!! The strongest features of Oulton's argument emerge when she considers the aspects of friendship that were unconventional or transgressive. Princeton and Oxford: Princeton University Press, 1966. Class and the influence of men can also be seen as fundamental in developing different ideas of sexuality and identity amongst women. This shortcoming is particularly noticeable in her chapter on male friendship, in which she discusses the David-Steerforth relationship in David Copperfield (1850–51) without considering the groundbreaking chapter in D. A. Miller's The Novel and the Police (1988) or Mary Poovey's important analysis in Uneven Developments (1988). Marcus, Sharon. Herbert, Amanda. Gleadle, Kathryn. ““They Wonder to which Sex I Belong”: The Historical Roots of the Modern Lesbian Identity.” Feminist Studies 18, no. From the beginning, Jill Liddington suggests that Anne Lister ‘distanced herself from her own immediate family’ and only ‘remained fond of her two surviving brothers’. Free shipping for many products! Ultimately, this study does less to prove that romantic friendship was a distinctive phenomenon from homosexual desire and more to show the inextricable connection between them. This separate identity was often viewed by the outside world to be very similar to that of a normal passionate friendship. Women in Victorian England wore jewelry made from each other’s hair and wrote poems celebrating decades of friendship. For many, the inability to have children would lead to a loss in status and respect. In 1857, English novelist Elizabeth Gaskell completed her most famous work: the biography of … 3 (1992): 467-497. Her sexuality would appear to follow that of a male’s, however the idea of passionate friendship allowed her to remain a prominent member of the female community. In order to read online Why Victorian Literature Still Matters textbook, you need to create a FREE account. . There is much evidence to suggest women did follow such a model which, in a few cases, lead to sexual relationships. This is reflected in Lister’s relationships, as she was able to take a dominant role in all of her relationships; she described herself as ‘not all masculine but rather softly gentleman-like.’ Thus, although Anne Lister’s dominating and masculine personality traits would suggest that she had a significantly male-influenced identity, Lister still identified with the female sex. Furthermore, for many ordinary, lower class women, they did not have the time to form strong passionate friendships with other women, as they were often required to work. The Romantic period (early Victorian reign, 1837-1860) celebrated and represented the love of a nation for its young queen and the love between the Queen Victoria and her husband. in fiction from Boston University, and a Ph.D. in Victorian literature from King’s College London. Her book is a persuasive challenge to those who view mid-Victorian England, existing in a state of blissful pre-Freudian innocence, as unproblematically accommodating of passionate same-sex … Gleadle, Kathryn, and Sarah Richardson, ed. You submitted the following rating and review. The Nineteenth Century Series. Now and Always,The Trusted Content Your Research Requires, Now and Always, The Trusted Content Your Research Requires, Built on the Johns Hopkins University Campus. There is another York Historian, an annual academic journal that focuses on the city of York. Bloomington and London: Indiana University Press, 1973. $99.95 (cloth). Aldershot: Ashgate, 2007. Whitbread, Helena. For many women, friendship with other women allowed them to express their feelings in a socially acceptable environment, and thus women used language as a key part of the development in a relationship. 718-720 Review View Citation Additional Information One of the disappointing features of Oulton's study is that it appears so often unaware of the critical literature on romantic friendship, especially in the arena of queer theory. Produced by Johns Hopkins University Press in collaboration with The Sheridan Libraries. The Victorian and the Romantic makes one want to read Gaskell’s work [and] it does so because of Steven’s own love for the writer.” —The New Yorker "If you’re attracted to an unreliable narrator who blends the sportive and the poignant, the emotional and the knowing, Stevens’s creative memoir may hit your sweet spot." For example, Anne Lister’s friendships with Anne Walker and Marianna Lawton (née Belcombe) both developed into intense relationships that dominated the majority of Lister’s life. Friendships were seen as more noble than marital love with a woman because women were seen as inferior. Therefore it can be seen that, although female friendships had a lasting influence on the views of female identity through its encouragement of passionate friendships, it was not the only influence. However, in the lower classes the necessity for them to work had a large influence. Women in Victorian England wore jewelry made from each other's hair and wrote poems celebrating decades of friendship. They pored over magazines that descri... Toward the end of George Eliot’sMiddlemarch(1871–1872), a scene takes place that exemplifies the power of Victorian novels to fuse marriage and romance. Female Alliances: Gender, Identity and Friendship in Early Modern Britain. If romantic friendship was widely upheld as an ideal in the nineteenth century, it was also subject to a tradition of satire, and was indeed an easy target for ridicule. Thus, for every woman it was different; romantic friendships were, certainly in the case of the upper and middle class, very influential on their sexuality and self-identity. Lively, witty, and impossible to put down, The Victorian and the Romantic is a moving chronicle of two women, each charting a way of life beyond the rules of her time. Furthermore, women were encouraged to talk about sewing, children and other distinctly feminine activities, and this affected the way that they developed their identity. Liddington, Jill. Rosa Bonheur spent much of her adult life dressing in male clothing and living with another woman; her male attire allowed her to take on a masculine identity, and thus justify her relationship as following a normal pattern, where there is a dominant masculine character and a submissive feminine one. This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. For all women, it is true to suggest that they were directly influenced by male attitudes and expectations, as well as the upbringing that they had. Pris: 1529 kr. London: Rivers Oram Press, 1998. Romantic Friendship in Victorian Literature. Therefore, lesbian relationships were often left undiscovered, or overlooked, as the boundaries of friendships between women blurred into more passionate forms of friendship. 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