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Outside the Pale : Cultural Exclusion, Gender Difference, and the Victorian Woman Writer (Paperback)

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In his 1850 article "Prostitution," W. R. Greg asserts that nineteenth-century society conceived of prostitutes as "far more out of the pale of humanity than negroes on a slave plantation or fellahs in a Pasha's dungeon." Elsie B. Michie here provides insightful readings of novels by Mary Shelley, Emily and Charlotte Bronte, Elizabeth Gaskell, and George Eliot, writers who confronted definitions of femininity which denied them full participation in literary culture. Exploring a series of abhorrent images - Frankenstein's monster, a simianized caricature of the Irish, the menstruating woman alluded to in debates on access to higher education, and the fallen woman - Michie traces the links between the Victorian definition of femininity and other forms of cultural exclusion such as race and class distinctions.
Michie considers a range of fiction written in the period 1818-1870, paying particular attention to changes in the construction of gender which coincided with changing attitudes toward colonial and class relations. Drawing on the work of such theorists as Teresa de Lauretis, Catherine Gallagher, Mary Poovey, Gayatri Spivak, and Homi Bhabha, she maps out connections between two excluded territories, one defined by gender and the other by class, race, and economics. Michie transforms our understanding of familiar novels including Wuthering Heights and Middlemarch in which the two themes are articulated together, as she illuminates political, economic, and social issues connected to models of difference.
Literary theorists, feminist scholars, Victorianists, and others interested in cultural studies and the history of the novel will welcome this perceptive and engaging book.


Publisher Cornell Univ Pr
Mfg Part# 9780801480850
SKU 202095265
Format Paperback
ISBN10 080148085X
Release Date 6/11/2013
Product Attributes
Book Format Paperback
Number of Pages 0224
Publisher Cornell University Press
$43.29 + free shipping
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