In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

Reviews97 antagonism" of men against women. Similarly, she might also have tempered or qualified her strictures on middle class female charity workers in the London slums. Nor is it accurate to assume that most male investigators and observers of the condition of the London poor were voyeurs and flaneurs. But neither these dissents nor the few infeUcitous phrases in the narrative detract from the worth of Walkowitz's study as a major contribution to late-Victorian social history. Its merit is enhanced by a most complete endnote apparatus and bibliography which reflect the high quality of Judith Walkowitz's research. J.O. BAYLEN Professor Emeritus Georgia State University Christine L. Krueger. The Reader's Repentance: Women Preachers, Women Writers, and Nineteenth Century Social Discourse. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1992. xii + 350. $29.95 (US). "Britain's Lady Novelists are our great Evangelists of Reconciliation." This contemporary (1853) comment on Elizabeth GaskeU's Ruth is aptly chosen as an epigraph to the introduction to this book, which explores nineteenth century women's social writings in the context of the tradition of evangelical Christian women's discourse. In the late eighteenth and early nineteenth century powerful women preachers such as Mary Bosanquet Fletcher (1739-1816) and Sarah Crosby (1729-1804) — and by 1825 Zachary Taft could include seventy-eight such women in his Biographical Sketches of the Lives and Public Ministry of Various Holy Women — had presented themselves as prophets and thus, using scriptural models, they could both claim authority and construct their readers or their audience as sinners to be led to repentance. As Christine Krueger demonstrates convincingly this evangelical role was accepted by many women writers in succeeding generations, including GaskeU, Géraldine Jewsbury, Frances Trollope, and Julia Kavanaugh, while others adopted the techniques of the tradition. The first part of this book discusses the women preachers; in the second part Krueger goes on to look closely at four later writers — Hannah More, Charlotte Elizabeth Tonna, Gaskell, and George Eliot examining in particular their early careers (so that one looks in vain for discussions of Wives and Daughters or Middlemarch). Part of the 98Victorian Review importance of this book Ues in its placing of the social writing of these women in the context of a woman's tradition, distinguishing their voices from those of the contemporary male social novelists with whom they are often discussed. Krueger's energetic discussions of, for instance, the confessions of GaskeU's Ruth and Eliot's Hetty Sorrel support her claim for the continuing potential of "evangelical dialogism to empower women's voices" (25); however, she also acknowledges and explores the high cost for women writers in claiming the prophetic mantle. The negotiations of eighteenth century women preachers between Paul's injunction, "I suffer not a woman to teach nor to usurp authority over the man but to be in silence" (1 Timothy 2:12) and his assertion that "in Christ there is . . . neither male nor female" (Galatians 3:28) were a continuing feature of their struggle for a voice. Women empowered themselves through a scrupulous (unscrupulous) Uteralism: if they avoided the traditional structure of the sermon with its exposition of a given biblical text and its development through various headings then they were not preaching, and thus not offending against Paul's edict. Public prayer, however, enabled them to reach out and exhort their audiences to confess and repent of their sins; it enabled them, in fact, to preach. In such evangelical exercises they had the support of John Wesley, who wrote to Sarah Crosby apparently advising a manipulative and self-protective caution: "Even in public prayer you may properly enough intermix short exhortations with prayer; but keep as far from what is called preaching as you can: therefore never take a text; never speak in a continued discourse without some break, about four or five minutes. Tell the people, 'We shall have another prayer-meeting at such a time and place'" (64). The emphasis — and the subterfuge — are apparently Wesley's. Krueger implies that Wesley's support of women evangelists was less than whole-hearted, but her discussion proves that it was all the same essential and greatly missed after Wesley's...

pdf

Additional Information

ISSN
1923-3280
Print ISSN
0848-1512
Pages
pp. 97-100
Launched on MUSE
2015-10-07
Open Access
No
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.