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ELT 43 : 2 2000 readers whose field is literature) will be not in the information about crime but in the other traces of working women's occupations, habits and circumstances, and in the contemporary responses to women who reported assault or abuse. I'm afraid I wish that Shani D'Cruze had written a somewhat different book; that she had drawn more informative deductions and generalizations from the peripheral evidence and the contexts. In addition, Crimes of Outrage is often hard to read: it is too densely packed with names and facts; because the sentences lack subordination and the paragraphs lack generalization, I sometimes had trouble understanding what all the details meant. The book's value is in the data it provides about nineteenth-century working women's support networks, their social character, and their self-assertion. The section on affiliation cases asks interesting questions about the interpretation of courtship practices, premarital sex and acquaintance rape, especially among farm servants and between servants and the young men of the household (who may be apprentices or working men themselves—and thus possible marriage partners—rather than the idle and predatory middle-class son who figures in most imagined narratives of backstairs sexuality). There is also a good discussion of the meaning of "domesticity" in working-class value systems. And finally, Shani D'Cruze has performed a valuable service simply in providing an example of the extent to which local record offices are still crammed with unmined sources that must be examined before we have any adequate history of the women who appear only fleetingly, if at all, in the period's literature. Sally Mitchell ------------------------------ Temple University Women & Reconstructing Nature Barbara T. Gates. Kindred Nature: Victorian and Edwardian Women Embrace the Living Word. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1999. xviii + 294 pp. $55.00 IN Kindred Nature, Barbara T. Gates brings us a feminist cultural study of what Victorian and Edwardian women writers "did and said in the name of nature—what part they played in the cultural reconstruction of nature that transpired in the years just preceding the publication of Darwin's major work and in the wake of the Darwinian revolution." Using histories of individual women to unlock a larger women's history, the resulting book is both a critical survey and spirited 218 BOOK REVIEWS celebration of the natural world as depicted in scientific discourse about and by women between 1850 and 1920. This study immediately follows Natural Eloquence: Women Reinscribe Science (1998), a collection of essays on nineteenth- and twentieth-century women's scientific research and writing, which Gates co-edited with Anna B. Shteir. Like Shteir's Cultivating Women, Cultivating Science (1996), Kindred Nature situates explicit accounts of individual women's works and lives within a study of larger issues of feminism and revisionist history. In fact, the strengths and weaknesses of this book lie in its multitude of sources and cases studies. On the one hand, the brevity of many of the case studies struggle against the sheer magnitude of Gates's project and become inconclusive. On the other hand, her conscious effort to include such a range of lesser-known writers enables her to weave together a more integrated and engaging story of women's roles in the pursuit of scientific knowledge. Her elegant inclusion of obscure women's journals and reports, alongside the works of more famous women like Beatrix Potter and Mary Kingsley, creates a rich and insightful story of Victorian and Edwardian cultural history. Gates begins the first section, "Women on the Edge of Science," with a review of Victorian perspectives on women's nature, women as nature, their role in the natural sciences, and gendered uses of nature and science in general. Within the first twenty pages, Gates gives us a widely divergent, yet lucid, catalogue of relevant debates that touches on Darwinism , women in medicine, the New Woman/'Wild Woman," women athletes, and legislation of women's bodies, as well as the treatment of "natural" (read bestialized and dangerous) women in works by Haggard, Wilde, Tennyson, and several others. She brings the various strains together with two case studies that consider Josephine Butler's crusade against the Contagious Diseases Acts...


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pp. 218-221
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Will Be Archived 2021
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