In this Book

summary
If Victorian women writers yearned for authorial forebears, or, in Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s words, for “grandmothers,” there were, Gail Turley Houston argues, grandmothers who in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries envisioned powerful female divinities that would reconfigure society. Like many Victorian women writers, they experienced a sense of what Barrett Browning termed “mother-want” inextricably connected to “mother-god-want.” These millenarian and socialist feminist grandmothers believed the time had come for women to initiate the earthly paradise that patriarchal institutions had failed to establish. Recuperating a symbolic divine in the form of the Great Mother—a pagan Virgin Mary, a female messiah, and a titanic Eve—Joanna Southcott, Eliza Sharples, Frances Wright, and others set the stage for Victorian women writers to envision and impart emanations of puissant Christian and pagan goddesses, enabling them to acquire the authorial legitimacy patriarchal culture denied them. Though the Victorian authors studied by Houston—Barrett Browning, Charlotte Brontë, Florence Nightingale, Anna Jameson, and George Eliot—often masked progressive rhetoric, even in some cases seeming to reject these foremothers, their radical genealogy reappeared in mystic, metaphysical revisions of divinity that insisted that deity be understood, at least in part, as substantively female.

Table of Contents

  1. Cover
  2. pp. 1-1
  3. open access Download |
  1. Title Page, Copyright
  2. pp. 2-7
  3. open access Download |
  1. Contents
  2. pp. vii-viii
  3. open access Download |
  1. Acknowledgments
  2. pp. ix-x
  3. open access Download |
  1. List of Abbreviations
  2. pp. xi-xii
  3. open access Download |
  1. Chapter 1. Introduction: Antecedents of the Victorian “Goddess Story”
  2. pp. 1-23
  3. open access Download |
  1. Chapter 2. “Gods of the old mythology arise”: Charlotte Brontë’s Vision of the “Goddess Story”
  2. pp. 24-48
  3. open access Download |
  1. Chapter 3. Feminist Reincarnations of the Madonna: Anna Jameson and Ecclesiastical Debates on the Immaculate Conception
  2. pp. 49-72
  3. open access Download |
  1. Chapter 4. Invoking “all the godheads”: Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s Polytheistic Aesthetic
  2. pp. 73-97
  3. open access Download |
  1. Chapter 5. Eve, the Female Messiah, and the Virgin in Florence Nightingale’s Personal and Public Papers
  2. pp. 98-120
  3. open access Download |
  1. Chapter 6. Ariadne and the Madonna: The Hermeneutics of the Goddess in George Eliot’s Romola
  2. pp. 121-142
  3. open access Download |
  1. Afterword
  2. pp. 143-144
  3. open access Download |
  1. Notes
  2. pp. 145-154
  3. open access Download |
  1. Bibliography
  2. pp. 155-170
  3. open access Download |
  1. Index
  2. pp. 171-182
  3. open access Download |

Additional Information

ISBN
9780814270219
Print ISBN
9780814212103
MARC Record
OCLC
868220080
Pages
208
Launched on MUSE
2014-01-01
Language
English
Open Access
Y
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.