By Lisa Surridge

ISBN-10: 082141643X

ISBN-13: 9780821416433

“Professor Surridge shows a transparent and persuasive ancient feel in addition to sensitivity to the novels and tales. i think this examine may have lasting worth as a result of its cautious old study and corresponding interpretation of the texts,” says Naomi wooden, Kansas kingdom collage The Offenses opposed to the individual Act of 1828 was once a bit of laws that opened magistrates' courts to abused working-class better halves. Newspapers in flip stated on those court cases and during this means the Victorian scrutiny of household behavior all started. yet how did well known fiction deal with the phenomenon of “private” family members violence? Bleak homes: Marital Violence in Victorian Fiction lines novelists' engagement with the wife-assault debates within the public press among 1828 and the flip of the century. Lisa Surridge examines the early works of Charles Dickens, Dombey and Son and The Tenant of Wildfell corridor, within the context of the serious debates on spouse attack and manliness within the past due 1840s and early 1850s. George Eliot's Janet's Repentance is learn in gentle of the parliamentary debates at the 1857 Divorce Act. Marital cruelty trials give you the constitution for either John Sutherland's the lady in White and Anthony Trollope's He Knew He used to be correct. finding the recent lady fiction of Mona Caird and the reassuring detective investigations of Sherlock Holmes within the context of late-Victorian feminism and the good marriage debate within the day-by-day Telegraph, Surridge illustrates how fin-de-siècle fiction introduced male sexual violence and the viability of marriage itself less than public scrutiny. Bleak homes hence demonstrates how Victorian fiction was once actively engaged with the wife-assault debates of the 19th century, debates which either developed and invaded the privateness of the middle-class domestic. in regards to the AUTHOR---Lisa Surridge is affiliate professor of English on the college of Victoria, Canada. She is co-editor of Mary Elizabeth Braddon's Aurora Floyd and has released on Victorian fiction in lots of journals together with Victorian Literature and tradition, Women's Writing, Dickens stories Annual, Victorian publication, and Victorians Institute magazine.   

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Extra resources for Bleak Houses: Marital Violence in Victorian Fiction

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Dickens thus creates sympathy for the battered woman, but simultaneously implies that women who defend themselves or others are unworthy of sympathy. The article pits the companionate model against the combative model of mar­ riage, and suggests that battery is a violation of the former. Working-class women’s traditional willingness to fight and to physically defend one another is here negated. Instead, the middle-class journalist—and, by ex­ tension, the middle-class reader—assumes the position of regulator and “natural protector” of the passive and beaten wife.

Dickens’s relationship to the public press of the s is thus complex. In contrast to the ambivalent press reports of the period, Dickens consistently endorses public intervention. But he does so almost exclusively on behalf of a passive victim, who embodies the values of do­ mesticity and female passivity that were increasingly cherished by the mid­ dle class. It is clear that The Old Curiosity Shop achieved its extraordinary sales because of—not despite—its excessively passive heroine, Little Nell.

She’ll manage him better than we can, my Lord. (Times,  October , b; see Morning Chronicle,  October , c) The reporting of this dialogue implies strongly that middle-class assump­ tions about protecting abused women do not apply to this case. Despite the neighbors’ apprehension that her husband might murder her, Louisa Johnson suggests that her primary conflict is with the courts, not with him. Surridge CH1 8/13/05 8:39 PM Page 22  | Private Violence in the Public Eye Her strong defense of the combative marriage makes the Lord Mayor’s early Victorian concerns about wife abuse sound like so many pious clichés; moreover, the voice of Mr.

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