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ELT 47 : 4 2004 desire for Djuna "in terms of sartorial display." Regrettably, Nin cannot imagine lesbian desire independent from the heterosexual paradigm; in her novels she "collapses notions of female cross-gendering into psychoanalytical commonplaces: the 'masculine' woman desires refeminization in order to assume a correct and rightful position in relation to man." In her conclusion Taylor points to Jeanette Winterson as a "direct descendant " of Djuna Barnes with her novels The Passion (1987) and Written on the Body (1992). In The Passion, Winterson views female cross-gendering as both the "threatened loss of female subjectivity, and as an enhancement of the body/self," thus echoing Barnes and the other authors Taylor examines in this study. Taylor also notes that the cross-gendered woman "remains compelling" to critics and theorists such as Judith Butler (Gender Trouble, 1990) and Marjorie Garber ( Vested Interests, 1992). While such references undeniably prove the currency and relevance of literary cross-gendering and female fetishism as subjects of inquiry, this ambitious book will appeal most to specialists well versed in its twin discourses of queer theory and psychoanalytic criticism. GENEVIÈVE BRASSARD --------------------------- University of Connecticut Women Philanthropists Dorice Williams Elliott. The Angel out of the House: Philanthropy and Gender in Nineteenth-Century England. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2002. χ + 270 pp. $35.00 ALTHOUGH Dorice Williams Elliott's The Angel out of the House: Philanthropy and Gender in Nineteenth-Century England charts the development between the mid-eighteenth and mid-nineteenth centuries of representations of the woman philanthropist, this well-researched study will be of interest to scholars in the 1880-1920 period. Elliott considers works by a spectrum of British women writers—Sarah Scott, Hannah More, Harriet Martineau, Mrs. Gaskell and George Eliot are some but not all of the writers discussed. Elliott aims to redress what she perceives to be the too-easy dismissal by scholars of women's philanthropic work as "do-gooding or patriarchal collusion"; against this view she argues for her project as critical in "redefining both gender and class roles in eighteenth- and nineteenth-century Britain." More specifically, Elliott maintains that women's practice of philanthropy—as well as their representations of women philanthropists—challenged "the do459 BOOK REVIEWS mestic ideology of separate spheres" during this period even while naturalizing "women's philanthropic work as part of their domestic role." Elliott's argument rests on her understanding of the contradiction at the heart of domestic ideology in the nineteenth century: although women's philanthropic activity was defined as "domestic," it nevertheless brought women outside of the home. Elliott maintains that philanthropy 's inclusion "under the umbrella of domestic ideology both reinforced and posed a fundamental challenge to that ideology's most basic premise"; in other words, philanthropic activity created both a symbolic and an actual space where women could remain safely domestic without staying at home. Although Elliott concedes that philanthropic representations did not challenge domestic ideology's well-established assumption of the sexual division of labor, she argues that these representations nonetheless stimulated women's "ambitious desires" for professional fulfillment, thereby "contest [ing] the idea . . . that women's desires were fundamentally dissimilar to men's." She concludes that philanthropic representations were one factor in changing "the way the category of woman was defined between the beginning of the eighteenth century and the end of the nineteenth." Elliott develops her argument in seven chapters, each of which concerns a point in history when "changes in the understanding and practice of philanthropy coincided with and contributed to redefinitions of the appropriate roles women should play." Many of these chapters consequently explore how women revised and re-appropriated their role as philanthropists in the wake of developments which threatened to sideline them. For instance, Elliott's first chapter considers Sarah Scott's novel Millenium Hall (1762) against the background of the rise of philanthropic subscription societies. Here Elliott reads Millenium Hall as an attempt to "imaginatively resolve ... the problem of integrating the upper-class Englishwoman's traditional charitable role as Lady Bountiful with the principles of public, businesslike philanthropic institutions" established mainly by men. Other chapters proceed similarly. Chapter three discusses works by Harriet Martineau, Frances Trollope, and Charlotte Elizabeth Tonna...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1559-2715
Print ISSN
0013-8339
Pages
pp. 459-463
Launched on MUSE
2010-05-21
Open Access
No
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