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ELT 36 :1 1993 nities for women and, although she favored votes for women, distanced herself from those feminists who demanded equal rights for women and advocated militancy to achieve the desired objectives. On the other hand, Josephine Butler was a life-long Liberal and an ardent moral crusader who believed that human beings and society could be made more responsible and moral. In her long crusade against the Contagious Diseases Acts and the sexual "corruption" of minors and in her work to redeem prostitutes, Butler was supported by Fawcett and both disliked and condemned Gladstone's indifference to political and economic equality for women. Where they differed was in their attitude toward the sexual "trespasses" of such political and literary celebrities as Sir Charles Dilke, Charles Stewart Parnell, Harry Cust, and Oscar Wilde. While Butler was more tolerant and forgiving, Fawcett (like Frances Cobbe) urged the electorate and especially women "to reject any association with men whose lives were scandalous." She certainly lacked Josephine Butler's "sympathy and compassion for individual sinners" and strongly supported the press and public campaigns to accomplish the political demise of "sexual malefactors" in public life. There was a hard side to Fawcett's character and personality which made it difficult even for her family to get on with her. Dr. Caine's study sheds much light on the interaction between the British feminist commitment and party politics during the Victorian era as reflected in the lives of four prominent feminists. The book is well illustrated and annotated (with notes where they should be—at the bottom of the page), with an excellent bibliography and index. Although Victorian Feminists is not easy reading, it is nevertheless a worthy addition to the ever-increasing corpus of feminist studies in nineteenth and early twentieth-century British history. J. O. Baylen Professor Emeritus ______ Eastbourne, England Woman and Literature Susan Rubinow Gorsky. Femininity to Feminism: Women and Literature in the Nineteenth Century. New York: Twayne, 1992. 211 pp. $45.00 SUSAN RUBINOW GORSKY'S book is a thoroughly researched overview of the emergence of modern feminism and the social issues that nurtured and accompanied its development. She argues that the era's feminist movements were fundamentally connected to nineteenth-century ideas of "feminine concerns," and that a study of nineteenth-century 110 BOOK REVIEWS literature informs and describes this connection, hi Femininity to Feminism , Gorsky examines the ways in which literature both reflects society and acts as a subtle agent of change. She explores the symbiotic connection between life and art and examines the implications of discrepancies between "real life" and what appeared on the pages of fiction. Her study begins with a discussion of literature and society, followed by chapters on marriage, the family, education for women, and employment . While Gorsky acknowledges that artists make "decisions and shape their material for reasons far removed from the desire to present society accurately," she also recognizes that nineteenth-century literature provided a forum for debate about the role and nature of women. In Chapter 2, "Marriage and Family: Gentle Ladies and New Women," Gorsky examines literature's representations of women's domestic lives. She finds a high degree of realism in descriptions of female roles, the implications of marriage and children for women, and descriptions of inadequate medical care for both women and children. Conversely, she finds that fictional families were much smaller than real Victorian families, fictional women died most often for love, rather than from disease, and the agonies of childbirth were rarely represented in the fiction. While these discrepancies may well reflect legitimate artistic and dramatic choices, Gorsky also believes they mirror a desire to "uphold lingering female stereotypes," and an inability to conceptualize any role that strayed from the ideal. Gorsky discusses subtle literary and cultural messages as well as overt ones. It is interesting to note that when children do die in nineteenth-century novels, it is because of inadequate maternal care. Given the century's high infant mortality rate, one could consider this a powerful literary indictment of women's perceived failure or reluctance to perform their "proper" role. Gorskys discussion of marriage and family is a lengthy one. Her next chapter...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1559-2715
Print ISSN
0013-8339
Pages
pp. 110-113
Launched on MUSE
2010-05-21
Open Access
No
Archive Status
Archived
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