Sisters in Time: Imagining Gender in Nineteenth-Century British Fiction

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Morgan's book begins with the fact that in a culture where women, both in life and in art, have continually been conceived of as less central to human concerns than men, one of the major periods of fiction should be so rich in novels that locate their centre of consciousness in women. The nineteenth century, the great age of British novels, is also the age of the great heroines, and this book examines why. Its essential argument is that the great march of British heroines in the nineteenth century exists in part because it was through women leads that writers, both male and female, could successfuly dramatize their pervasive concerns about history and community progress. The novels share the historical consciousness that the future must not repeat the past, and basic to that consciousness is the notion that traditional definitions of gender must not also be repeated. To change means to change what we mean by masculine and feminine, male and female. The further question these novels deal with is how rearranging such definitions can also rearrange relations between characters and, both inside and outside fiction, can change the relations between public and private events.

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Oxford University Press Inc
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