Marital Violence in Victorian Fiction
Publication Year: 2005
Published by: Ohio University Press
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List of Illustrations
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List of Abbreviations
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In “The Adventure of the Abbey Grange” (2904), Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson are called to investigate a murder in an upper-class home. Sir Eustace Brackenstall lies dead in his dining room, felled by a blow from his own poker. ...
1. Private Violence in the Public Eye: The Early Writings of Charles Dickens
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On 9 September 1848, Punch published a spoof on the trend of “Hand Phrenology,” or the analysis of human character by the shape of the hand (104). The accompanying cartoons featured a cast of a boxing glove (fig. 1.1) and the blunt-fingered, powerful hand inside it (fig. 1.2). ...
2. Domestic Violence and Middle-Class Manliness: Dombey and Son
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In his sketch “Meditations in Monmouth Street” (Morning Chronicle, 11 October 1836), Charles Dickens turns his attention to the connection between manliness and domestic assault. Gazing at an array of secondhand men’s clothing in a shop—a boy’s suit,...
3. From Regency Violence to Victorian Feminism: The Tenant of Wildfell Hall
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As I point out in chapter 1, between the 1820s and 1840s the Victorians’ daily exposure to newspaper accounts of marital violence changed radically, a shift propelled by the 1828 Offenses Against the Person Act. An important aspect of this newspaper coverage was the...
4. The Abused Woman and the Community: "Janet's Repentance"
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The wife-assault debates of the late 1840s, which pitted emergent feminists against those who wished to preserve current gender roles, set the stage for the intense debate during the 1850s on women’s place in marriage. Imbricated in this debate was George Eliot’s story “Janet’s...
5. Strange Revelations: The Divorce Court, the Newspaper, and The Woman in the White
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In “A Case of Identity” (1891), Sherlock Holmes declares to Watson that “life is infinitely stranger” than fiction. “If we could fly out of that window hand in hand, hover over this great city, gently remove the roofs, and peep in at the queer things which...
6. The Private Eye and the Public Gaze: He Knew He Was Right
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As I argue in the previous chapter, divorce court journalism and sensation fiction were related cultural phenomena of the early 1860s. The effect of these two forms of representation, I have suggested, was to erase middle- class marital privacy in favor of a series of detections,...
7. Marital Violence and the New Woman: The Wing of Azrael
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The two final chapters of this book turn to the Victorian fin de siècle —a period identified with widespread gender crisis, the interrogation of masculine and feminine roles, the forging of the social identity of the homosexual, and the rise of the New Woman. ...
8. "Are Women Protected?" Sherlock Holmes and the Violent Home
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“Any reading of the Holmes stories must recognize that, whatever else the tales are doing, they are, above all else, celebrating the power of reason, venerating the human intellect and its ability to penetrate the mysterious surfaces of the world and explain the workings of the universe as...
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Publication Year: 2005