Chapter

Women of Substance

Janice Carlisle

in Common Scents

Published in print March 2004 | ISBN: 9780195165098
Published online September 2007 | e-ISBN: 9780199787685 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195165098.003.0004
 Women of Substance

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This chapter takes up Meredith's Evan Harrington and Oliphant's Salem Chapel, but deals in this case with their principal female characters, as it also considers the heroines of Yonge's The Clever Woman of the Family, Eliot's Felix Holt, and Trollope's Miss Mackenzie. Through comparative encounters that become exchanges, such women prove their superiority to their men: because these female characters are marked as matter through their association with the aromas of flowers, they are represented as having the capacity to offer their men the substance not only of their reproductive bodies but also of their property, their money, and their land. A woman's attempt to treat the ills of her melancholic man in the context of the domesticity that they share, however, often merely reveals that his cure must be sought elsewhere.

Keywords: domesticity; Eliot; materiality; melancholia; Meredith; Oliphant; property; reproduction; Trollope; Yonge

Chapter.  16758 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Literary Studies (19th Century)

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