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Thread: Victorian Women writers....

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    Trying to make mom and pop proud
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    Victorian Women writers....

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    During the Victorian period, women writers were measured against a social rather than a literary ideal. Hence, it was widely thought that novels by women should be modest, religious, sensitive, guileless, and chaste, like their authors. Many Victorian women writers took exception to (take exception to: v.反对) this belief, however, resisting the imposition of nonliterary restrictions on their work. Publishers soon discovered that the gentlest and most iddylike female novelists were tough-minded and relentless when their professional integrity (firm adherence to a code of especially moral or artistic values: INCORRUPTIBILITY) was at stake (at stake: adv.危如累卵, 危险). Keenly aware of their artistic responsibilities, these women writers would not make concessions to secure commercial success.
    The Brontes, George Eliot, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, and their lesser-known contemporaries repudiated, in their professional lives, the courtesy that Victorian ladies might exact from Victorian gentlemen. Desiring rigorous and impartial criticism, most women writers did not wish reviewers to be kind to them if kindness meant overlooking their literary weaknesses or flattering them on their accomplishments simply because of their sex. They had expected derisive reviews; instead, they found themselves confronted with generous criticism, which they considered condescending. Elizabeth Barrett Browning labeled it “the comparative respect which means... absolute scorn.”
    For their part, Victorian critics were virtually obsessed with finding the place of the woman writer so as to judge her appropriately. Many bluntly admitted that they thought Jane Eyre a masterpiece if written by a man, shocking or disgusting if written by a woman. Moreover, reactionary reviewers were quick to associate an independent heroine with carefully concealed revolutionary doctrine; several considered Jane Eyre a radical feminist document, as indeed it was. To Charlotte Bronte, who had demanded dignity and independence without any revolutionary intent and who considered herself politically conservative, their criticism was an affront. Such criticism bunched all women writers together rather than treating them as individual artists.
    Charlotte Bronte’s experience served as a warning to other women writers about the prejudices that immediately associated them with feminists and others thought to be political radicals. Irritated, and anxious to detach themselves from a group stereotype, many expressed relatively conservative views on the emancipation of women (except on the subject of women’s education) and stressed their own domestic accomplishments. However, in identifying themselves with women who had chosen the traditional career path of marriage and motherhood, these writers encountered still another threat to their creativity. Victorian prudery rendered virtually all experience that was uniquely feminine unprintable. No nineteenth-century woman dared to describe childbirth, much less her sexual passion. Men could not write about their sexual experiences either, but they could write about sport, business, crime, and war—all activities from which women were barred. Small wonder no woman produced a novel like War and Peace. What is amazing is the sheer volume of first-rate prose and poetry that Victorian women did write.




    How can I come to the inference mentioned in the question below?? Any ideas???
    When they say feminist, are they meaning any revolutionary stuff of that time that can be done by woman... The OA is C



    8. It can be inferred from the passage that a Victorian woman writer who did not consider herself a feminist would most probably have approved of women’s
    (A) entering the noncombat military
    (B) entering the publishing business
    (C) entering a university
    (D) joining the stock exchangeC
    (E) joining a tennis club

  2. #2
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    (Except education). It says that they were willing to go conservative on various fronts so as to have atleast some identity. But not on education.

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