Download Bleak Houses: Marital Violence in Victorian Fiction by Lisa Surridge PDF

By Lisa Surridge

“Professor Surridge indicates a transparent and persuasive historic feel in addition to sensitivity to the novels and tales. i feel this learn can have lasting worth due to its cautious old learn and corresponding interpretation of the texts,” says Naomi wooden, Kansas country college The Offenses opposed to the individual Act of 1828 was once a bit of laws that opened magistrates' courts to abused working-class other halves. Newspapers in flip pronounced on those court cases and during this means the Victorian scrutiny of household behavior all started. yet how did renowned fiction deal with the phenomenon of “private” relations violence? Bleak homes: Marital Violence in Victorian Fiction lines novelists' engagement with the wife-assault debates within the public press among 1828 and the flip of the century. Lisa Surridge examines the early works of Charles Dickens, Dombey and Son and The Tenant of Wildfell corridor, within the context of the serious debates on spouse attack and manliness within the past due 1840s and early 1850s. George Eliot's Janet's Repentance is learn in mild of the parliamentary debates at the 1857 Divorce Act. Marital cruelty trials give you the constitution for either John Sutherland's the girl in White and Anthony Trollope's He Knew He used to be correct. finding the recent lady fiction of Mona Caird and the reassuring detective investigations of Sherlock Holmes within the context of late-Victorian feminism and the nice marriage debate within the day-by-day Telegraph, Surridge illustrates how fin-de-siècle fiction introduced male sexual violence and the viability of marriage itself lower than public scrutiny. Bleak homes hence demonstrates how Victorian fiction used to be actively engaged with the wife-assault debates of the 19th century, debates which either developed and invaded the privateness of the middle-class domestic. in regards to the AUTHOR---Lisa Surridge is affiliate professor of English on the collage of Victoria, Canada. She is co-editor of Mary Elizabeth Braddon's Aurora Floyd and has released on Victorian fiction in lots of journals together with Victorian Literature and tradition, Women's Writing, Dickens reports Annual, Victorian publication, and Victorians Institute magazine.   

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Under the ironic head­ line “An Agreeable Honeymoon,” the newspaper reported that “an elderly man” named Patrick Mack was charged with having beaten his wife three weeks after their marriage. The early part of the report balances the couple’s sparring against the magistrate’s seriousness: Elizabeth Mack stated . . Mr Mack suddenly became jealous of one of her lodgers, and because she laughed at such folly and discouraged it, he struck her a blow under her left eye that struck the fire out of it, and she had never been fit to be seen since; besides which, he had sharpened a knife to cut her open, as he said, more easily.

MC, ). His depictions of women’s loyalty efface many practical rea­ sons why Victorian women might have refused to testify against their hus­ Surridge CH1 8/13/05 8:39 PM Page 35 The Early Writings of Charles Dickens |  bands in court. One such reason was that a husband’s jail term might send a wife and children to the workhouse. Another reason for not testifying was that when the husband got out of jail he might seek revenge. As Tomes points out, going to the police or testifying against an abusive husband could be extremely dangerous: she cites several cases in which women were killed or had acid thrown at them because they sought legal redress (Tomes, ).

Surridge CH1 8/13/05 8:39 PM Page 31 The Early Writings of Charles Dickens |  Bill Sikes” (Echo,  January , ) represents the working-class woman who does not fight, but defines herself by her passivity. What is important is that Nancy is not unique in Dickens’s writings, but rather represents one of a number of his female characters who are admired for their submission to abuse. For example, in The Pickwick Papers the interpolated narrative of “The Convict’s Return” idealizes a passive response to marital violence: “I do firmly and in my soul believe, that the man systematically tried for many years to break her heart; but she bore it all for her child’s sake, and, however strange it may seem to many, for his father’s too; for, brute as he was and cruelly as he had treated her, she had loved him once; and the rec­ ollection of what he had been to her, awakened feelings of forbearance and meekness under suffering in her bosom, to which all God’s creatures, but women, are strangers” (OT, ).

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