aella_irene: (bookstore)
[personal profile] aella_irene
Has anyone heard anything about Women in England 1760-1914: A Social History by Susie Steinbach? I saw it in Waterstones, and it looks quite good, but I'm not an expert.

Date: 2010-04-12 09:08 pm (UTC)
legionseagle: (Default)
From: [personal profile] legionseagle
It's on my shelves and I can't remember a blind thing about it. Borrow it from me if you want to, but if I didn't register it even on the level where I had to check that I owned it, I suspect it's a bit bland.

Date: 2010-04-12 09:17 pm (UTC)
recessional: a small blue-paisley teapot with a blue mug (Default)
From: [personal profile] recessional
It starts off by presenting Queen Victoria as essentially a woman of her time...

. . . I don't know about that. I don't think MANY of the women of her time had screaming temper tantrums at her cabinet. Or had a huge sulk because she didn't like the Whig prime minister. (Young Victoria is such fun to read about. Then Albert made her all dull.)

Date: 2010-04-12 09:32 pm (UTC)
recessional: a small blue-paisley teapot with a blue mug (Default)
From: [personal profile] recessional
1760-1914 sounds like the author is going with the Long Nineteenth Century thesis, which is that you can't understand the Victorian period without understanding how the Old Society of the sixteenth to eighteenth centuries fed into and developed into the society of the high industrial Victorian, whose basic mores and premises and assumptions lasted until they crashed hard, ugly and explosively in the trenches of France whereupon everyone picked themselves out of the muck and went "huh" and went on to have the 20th century.

Which definitely has its merits as a mode of analysis, and it's certainly worth tracking the changes in women's status and ideas of femininity and the way in which the middle-class ideal of said TOOK OVER EVERYTHING (my prof: "The Victorian middle-class ruined marriage, sex, and a bunch of other things. This is how."), but if the book is presenting there being a solid continuum across rank and (eventually, tho not until later period) class and everything else, I'd eye it as problematic.

And Victoria is actually much more interesting to consider in relationship with the status of the monarchy (in the TOILET when she took the throne; practically sanctified by the time she died) and the rise of that middle class morality and Albert's understanding thereof (everything we think of as "Victorian" about Victoria: actually Albert's fault) and so on. Rather than "woman of her time", which elides and obscures . . . . a lot. (Among other things: "woman of her time" of what rank/class/background? These things make a difference!)

So it might be a useful bland base-text, but it doesn't seem like it'd be Authoritative. MMV.
Edited (someday I will say everything I want before the first time I hit "post". today is not that day.) Date: 2010-04-12 09:34 pm (UTC)

Date: 2010-04-12 09:37 pm (UTC)
recessional: a small blue-paisley teapot with a blue mug (Default)
From: [personal profile] recessional
No. (Oh, god, it has been so long since I've read anything researchy that wasn't for my degree.) I shall have to look it up!

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