Download Medical Women And Victorian Fiction by Kristine Swenson PDF

By Kristine Swenson


In Medical ladies and Victorian Fiction, Kristine Swenson explores the cultural intersections of fiction, feminism, and medication in the course of the moment half the 19th century in Britain and her colonies via the advanced and reciprocal dating among ladies and drugs in Victorian tradition. Her exam facilities round exact even though similar figures: the Nightingale nurse and the hot lady medical professional. The clinical ladies within the fiction of Elizabeth Gaskell (Ruth), Wilkie Collins (The lady in White), Dr. Margaret Todd (Mona McLean, clinical Student), Hilda Gregg (Peace with Honour), and others are analyzed on the subject of nonfictional discussions of nurses and ladies medical professionals in scientific guides, nursing tracts, feminist histories, and newspapers.
Victorian anxieties over sexuality, disorder, and ethical corruption got here jointly so much again and again round the determine of a prostitute. in spite of the fact that, Swenson takes as her concentration for this quantity an opposing determine, the clinical girl, whom Victorians deployed to wrestle those social ills. As symbols of conventional lady morality trained and reworked by means of the hot social and scientific sciences, representations of scientific girls motivated public debate surrounding women’s schooling and employment, the Contagious illnesses Acts, and the well-being of the empire.
At a similar time, the presence of those knowledgeable, autonomous girls, who got money for acting initiatives regularly assigned to household girls or servants, necessarily altered the which means of womanhood and the positions of different ladies in Victorian tradition. Swenson demanding situations extra traditional histories of the increase of the particular nurse and the lady health care provider by means of treating as both vital the advance of cultural representations of those figures.

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Unlike in that earlier novel, however, socially ostracizing fallen women is here treated as misguided prejudice. Though the reader knows that Ruth is leading a productive Christian life, a dressmaker who knew her 25. Walkowitz, Prostitution, 41, 32; Cora Lansbury, Elizabeth Gaskell: The Novel of Social Crisis, 51. 26. Pauline Nestor, Female Friendships and Communities: Charlotte Brontë, George Eliot, Elizabeth Gaskell, 3. ” (321). And though Ruth’s work as the Bradshaws’ governess is more than satisfactory, and though she behaves more modestly and correctly than Bradshaw’s own daughter, Ruth is dismissed from her position as soon as her story is known.

Thomas’s Hospital: “For 7 years he has been in habits of intoxication . . ” That Nightingale would endure such behavior by the chief medical 35. Kalisch, “The Birth of Modern Nursing,” 135. 36 Nightingale’s stringent moral guidelines, then, reveal not only the fear of improper behavior among the nurses, but also a recognition of the more general difficulties facing even the most proper women who worked alongside men and with such an intimate connection to male bodies. Besides diminishing the immediate danger of sexual harassment, a repressed female sexuality, even to the point of celibacy, helped single women to gain professional acceptance in their male-dominated world.

37 Nightingale accepted the repression of her own sexuality as the necessary price of her professional ambition. After many proposals over a number of years, Nightingale finally refused to marry the social reformer Richard Monckton Milnes. Nightingale’s analysis of her own situation explains why she believed work and marriage to be incompatible goals and demonstrates how this incompatibility forced her to sacrifice twothirds of her “self” and her desires: I have an intellectual nature which requires satisfaction and that would find it in him.

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