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Walking the Victorian streets : women, representation, and the city / Deborah Epstein Nord

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Material Type
Nord, Deborah Epstein, 1949-
Ithaca, N.Y. : Cornell University Press, 1995.


1 online resource (xiii, 270 pages) : illustrations
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Includes bibliographical references (pages 249-257) and index.
Introduction: Rambling in the Nineteenth Century -- Ch.1 -- The City as Theater: London in the 1820s -- Ch.2 -- Sketches by Boz: The Middle-Class City and the Quarantine of Urban Suffering -- Ch.3 -- "Vitiated Air": The Polluted City and Female Sexuality in Dombey and Son and Bleak House -- Ch.4 -- The Female Pariah: Flora Tristan's London Promenades -- Ch.5 -- Elbowed in the Streets: Exposure and Authority in Elizabeth Gaskell's Urban Fictions -- Ch.6 -- "Neither Pairs Nor Odd": Women, Urban Community, and Writing in the 1880s -- Ch.7 -- The Female Social Investigator: Maternalism, Feminism, and Women's Work -- Conclusion: Esther Summerson's Veil.
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Print version record.
Literary traditions of urban description in the nineteenth century revolve around the figure of the stroller, a man who navigates and observes the city streets with impunity. Whether the stroller appears as fictional character, literary persona, or the nameless, omnipresent narrator of panoramic fiction, he casts the woman of the streets in a distinctive role. She functions at times as a double for the walker's marginal and alienated self and at others as connector and contaminant, carrier of the literal and symbolic diseases of modern urban life. In Walking the Victorian Streets, Deborah Epstein Nord explores the way in which the female figure is used as a marker for social suffering, poverty, and contagion in texts by De Quincey, Lamb, Pierce Egan, and Dickens. What, then, of the female walker and urban chronicler? While the male spectator enjoyed the ability to see without being seen, the female stroller struggled to transcend her role as urban spectacle and her association with sexual transgression. In novels, nonfiction, and poetry by Elizabeth Gaskell1 Flora Tristan, Margaret Harkness, Amy Levy, Maud Pember Reeves, Beatrice Webb, Helen Bosanquet, and others, Nord locates the tensions felt by the female spectator conscious of herself as both observer and observed. Finally, Walking the Victorian Streets considers the legacy of urban rambling and the uses of incognito in twentieth-century texts by George Orwell and Virginia Woolf.
Local Note
English fiction -- 19th century -- History and criticism.
Women and literature -- England -- History -- 19th century.
Feminism and literature -- England -- History -- 19th century.
Marginality, Social, in literature.
City and town life in literature.
Moral conditions in literature.
Social problems in literature.
Prostitutes in literature.
Sex role in literature.
Mimesis in literature.
Roman anglais -- 19e siècle -- Histoire et critique.
Femmes et littérature -- Angleterre -- Histoire -- 19e siècle.
Féminisme et littérature -- Angleterre -- Histoire -- 19e siècle.
Marginalité dans la littérature.
Vie urbaine dans la littérature.
Conditions morales dans la littérature.
Problèmes sociaux dans la littérature.
Prostituées dans la littérature.
Rôle selon le sexe dans la littérature.
Mimêsis dans la littérature.
LITERARY CRITICISM -- European -- English, Irish, Scottish, Welsh.
City and town life in literature
English fiction
Feminism and literature
Marginality, Social, in literature
Mimesis in literature
Moral conditions in literature
Prostitutes in literature
Sex role in literature
Social problems in literature
Women and literature
Stadt Motiv
Frau Motiv
Literaire thema's.
Victoriaanse tijd.
Villes dans la littératuree.
Roman anglais -- 19e siècle -- Histoire et critique.
Femmes et littérature -- Grande-Bretagne -- 19e siècle.
Chronological Term
Indexed Term
English fiction Special subjects Women
Criticism, interpretation, etc.
Other Form:
Print version: Nord, Deborah Epstein, 1949- Walking the Victorian streets. Ithaca, N.Y. : Cornell University Press, 1995 (DLC) 95010932 (OCoLC)32429752
9781501729232 (electronic bk.)
1501729233 (electronic bk.)
0801423929 (alk. paper)
9780801423925 (alk. paper)
0801482917 (pbk.)
9780801482915 (pbk.)