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Victorian Literature and the Anorexic Body Hardcover – Aug 26 2002


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"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.

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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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