Mistress of the House: Women of Property in the Victorian Novel
This exploration of gender and property ownership in eight important novels argues that property is a decisive undercurrent in narrative structures and modes, as well as an important gender signature in society and culture. Tim Dolin suggests that the formal development of nineteenth-century domestic fiction can only be understood in the context of changes in the theory and laws of property: indeed femininity and its representation cannot be considered separately from property relations and their reform. He presents original readings of novels in which a woman owns, acquires or loses property, focusing on exchanges between patriarchal cultural authority, the 'woman question' and narrative form, and on the place of domestic fiction in a culture in which property relations and gender relations are subject to radical review. Each chapter revolves around a representative text, but refers substantially to other material, both other novels and contemporary social, legal, political and feminist commentary.
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