Women, writing, and the industrial revolution /
Susan Zlotnick.
Baltimore, Md. : Johns Hopkins University Press, 1998.
viii, 325 p. ; 23 cm.
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Baltimore, Md. : Johns Hopkins University Press, 1998.
catalogue key
Includes bibliographical references (p. [299]-313) and index.
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Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Choice on 1999-07-01:
This excellent book takes its place among such historically informed literary-critical works as Catherine Gallagher's The Industrial Reformation of English Fiction (CH, Jan'86) and Rosemarie Bodenheimer's The Politics of Story in Victorian Social Fiction (CH, Oct'88). Making a sustained argument about the links between gender, social class, and attitudes toward industrialization, Zlotnick (Vassar College) analyzes the concept of the "industrial revolution" as one of the Victorian period's chief inventions. The author argues that male Victorian writers express a dread of industrialization and a nostalgia for a preindustrial England, sentiments that pervade dominant English culture even today, whereas female Victorians look hopefully to the material effects of industrialization as grounds for positive change. Citing canonical novels by Dickens and Disraeli, Gaskell and Charlotte Bronte, along with less familiar texts by Frances Trollope, Charlotte Tonna, and numerous male and female working-class authors, Zlotnick shows that the gendered difference in attitude holds across class lines. Clearly written and beautifully produced, the book makes a strong argument that for Victorians of both sexes "nascent industrialism seemed to herald both a social and sexual revolution." An appendix reproduces working-class texts unavailable elsewhere. Upper-division undergraduates through faculty. R. R. Warhol University of Vermont
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Choice, July 1999
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