This article considers the ways Sarah Grand and George Egerton engaged eugenic discourse in their writing, rhetorically molding the ideology to promote their individual perspectives on women’s sexuality, marriage, and the birthing of children. The argument contextualizes the growing eugenics movement in England, expands Angelique Richardson’s contention that New Woman writers engaged with eugenics as a means to advocate for social reform, and then analyzes often underexplored short texts by Grand and Egerton, to demonstrate how both women commented on and contributed to the shaping of late-Victorian eugenic theory. By explicating the connections they forge between eugenics and women’s roles as wives and mothers of future generations, we see that Victorian women writers actively deployed eugenic thought in their writing to argue for increased social recognition as “rational” mate selectors and to raise questions regarding gender inequality within the institution of marriage and society. [144 words]


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pp. 371-390
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
Archive Status
Will Be Archived 2021
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