Pamela K. Gilbert

in Victorian Literature

ISBN: 9780199799558
Published online March 2011 | | DOI:

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The Victorian period is one of the literary fields in which gender scholarship advanced earliest and most fully. The most significant work started in the 1970s and is due not only to the historical turn in Victorian scholarship but also to the volume of women’s writing in the period. Subsequently, most scholarly work has incorporated to some extent some attention to gender perforce, and the bibliography is thus potentially vast. This entry is designed to attend to material that focuses primarily on gender (rather than having gender simply as one of many foci) and to a range of texts and issues (rather than focusing on a single author) that were important to the development of the scholarly conversation on gender. It also includes entries for works exemplary of recent approaches. The early days of gender studies, then often defined as “women’s studies,” focused primarily on middle-class white women in England and on the oppressive nature of the feminine ideal. Later work focused on a gender-studies paradigm that called into question the category “woman” as an absolute or unifying focus. Recent works incorporate a more nuanced analysis of class, give due attention to masculinity and queer histories, and discuss ideas of empire.

Article.  9467 words. 

Subjects: Literary Studies (19th Century)

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