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Victorian Literature and the Anorexic Body [Hardcover]

Anna Krugovoy Silver

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Book Description

Aug. 26 2002 0521816025 978-0521816021 1
Anna Silver examines the ways nineteenth-century British writers used physical states of the female body--hunger, appetite, fat and slenderness--in the creation of female characters. She argues that anorexia nervosa, first diagnosed in 1873, serves as a paradigm for the cultural ideal of middle-class womanhood in Victorian Britain. Silver uses the works of a wide range of writers (including Charlotte Brontë, Christina Rossetti, Charles Dickens, Bram Stoker and Lewis Carroll) to demonstrate that mainstream models of middle-class Victorian womanhood share important qualities with the beliefs or behaviors of the anorexic female.

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Review

"Anna Krugovoy Silver's book [has] an immediate relevancy and edge. Victorian Literature and the Anorexic Body convincingly shows that the paradigms of anorexia are at work in almost every Victorian text...[T]his book provides a readable and straightforward account and a helpful summary of the literature on anorexia and Victorianism." Kirstie Blair, St. Peter's College, Oxford, George Eliot-George Henry Lewes Studies

"Silver offers an analysis of what she terms the 'Victorian culture of anorexia,' a culture that links feminine slenderness with such moral qualities as self-control and piety.... [T]he book is lucid and well written. Upper-division undergraduates through faculty." Choice

"...fascinating and well-researched..." English Literature In Transition 1880-1920

Book Description

Silver examines the ways nineteenth-century British writers used physical states of the female body--hunger, appetite, fat and slenderness--in the creation of female characters. Silver argues that anorexia nervosa, first diagnosed in 1873, serves as a paradigm for the cultural ideal of middle-class womanhood in Victorian Britain. Silver discusses a wide range of writers including Charlotte Brontë, Christina Rossetti, Charles Dickens, Bram Stoker and Lewis Carroll to show that mainstream models of middle-class Victorian womanhood share important qualities with the beliefs or behaviours of the anorexic girl or woman.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
The remarkable similarity between Orbach's and Ellis's observations indicates that the wish to adapt to one predominant standard of beauty bridges nineteenth- and twentieth-century women's experiences, and that contemporary complaints about the tyranny of slenderness have antecedents in the Victorian era. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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