Home » Other Women: The Writing of Class, Race, and Gender, 1832-1898 by Anita Levy
Other Women: The Writing of Class, Race, and Gender, 1832-1898 Anita Levy

Other Women: The Writing of Class, Race, and Gender, 1832-1898

Anita Levy

Published January 21st 1991
ISBN : 9780691068657
Hardcover
184 pages
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 About the Book 

In this ambitious work Anita Levy exposes certain forms of middle-class power that have been taken for granted as common sense and laws of nature. Joining an emergent tradition of cultural historians who draw on Gramsci and Foucault, she showsMoreIn this ambitious work Anita Levy exposes certain forms of middle-class power that have been taken for granted as common sense and laws of nature. Joining an emergent tradition of cultural historians who draw on Gramsci and Foucault, she shows how middle-class hegemony in the nineteenth century depended on notions of gender to legitimize a culture-specific and class-specific definition of the right and wrong ways of being human. The author examines not only domestic fiction, particularly Emily Bronts Wuthering Heights, but also nineteenth-century works of the human sciences, including sociological tracts, anthropological treatises, medical texts, and psychological studies. She finds that British intellectuals of the period produced gendered standards of behavior that did not so much subordinate women to men as they authorized the social class whose women met norms of appropriate behavior: this class was considered to be peculiarly fit to care for other social and cultural groups whose women were improperly gendered. When Levy reads fiction against the social sciences, she demonstrates that the history of fiction cannot be understood apart from the history of the human sciences. Both fiction and science share common narrative strategies for representing the essential female and other women--the prostitute, the primitive, and the madwoman. Only fiction, however, represented these strategies in an idiom of everyday life that verified theory and science.