Women-Writers of the Nineteenth Century

By Marjory A. Bald | Go to book overview

PREFACE

THIS collection of studies does not aim at giving an exhaustive account of the contribution made by women to Nineteenth Century literature. Neither does it profess to be in any sense a "feminist" treatise. The writers selected were in all cases remarkable women; but they were something more -- remarkable human beings. I have endeavoured throughout to concentrate, not merely on questions of sex, but on the complete humanity of each woman. So far as possible all preconceived theories of the literary woman have been deliberately excluded. There is no initial attempt to determine what the woman of letters should be like. After looking carefully at these particular women, we may see what she has sometimes been like; and we may also discern certain characteristics common to different women of literary instinct. That is all the "theory" which this book professes to give. For its aim has not been the evolution of a principle. It has attempted something more elusive, and to many minds far more satisfying -- to look at individual writers, as it were face to face, with a quickened sense of kinship and reverence.

With regard to the proportional length of the separate sections, it may be necessary to make special reference to the study of Mrs Gaskell. Though it is the longest of the sections, this does not imply that Mrs Gaskell is to be considered as the most important of all the writers in question. The length of the section is due to the fact that she was many-sided, whereas the other women of stronger idiosyncracy -- and it

-v-

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Women-Writers of the Nineteenth Century
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Preface v
  • Contents vii
  • Jane Austen 1775-1817 1
  • I - The Utilisation of Small Resources 1
  • II - Elements of Her Appeal -- Cheerfulness And Moderation 9
  • III - The Study of Human Temperament 17
  • The Brontes 28
  • I - General Introduction. Family Characteristics 28
  • II - Anne Bronte, 1820-1849 35
  • III - Charlotte Bronte, 1816-1855 38
  • IV - Emily Bronte, 1818-1848 77
  • Mrs E. C. Gaskell 1810-1865 100
  • I - Introductory 100
  • II - Atmosphere and Setting 103
  • III - Humour 107
  • IV - Pathos 122
  • V - The Woman's Point of View 136
  • VI - The Social Problem 145
  • VII - Moral Theory or Moral Effect 151
  • George Eliot 1819-1880 162
  • I - Introductory 162
  • II - The Expression of Temperament 166
  • III - The Impersonal Artist 184
  • Mrs Browning 209
  • I - The Negative Approach 209
  • II - The Positive Approach 221
  • Christina Rossetti 1830-1894 233
  • I - Personal Experience Reflected On Her Poetry 233
  • II - Sources 239
  • III - Symbol, Allegory, and Dream 254
  • IV - Emotional Quality 260
  • V - General Considerations 267
  • Conclusion 275
  • Index 285
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