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Kalsem, Kristin, 1962-
In contempt : nineteenth-century women, law, and literature / Kristin Kalsem
Columbus : Ohio State University Press, c2012
book jacket
Location Call Number Status
 4th Floor  PN56.5.W64 K25 2012    AVAILABLE
Subject(s) Women in literature
Law in literature
Women -- Legal status, laws, etc. -- History -- 19th century
Literature, Modern -- 19th century -- History and criticism
Feminist jurisprudence
Women's rights in literature
Physical Description xiii, 238 p. : ill. ; 24 cm
Note Includes bibliographical references and index
Contents A novel approach to feminist jurisprudence : narrating the gothic reality of coverture -- Legislative histories and literary herstories : infanticide, bastardy, and the "lewd woman" -- Birth control on trial : law, literature, and libel -- Sitting in judgment : a cross-examination of women, law, and empire -- Appealing women : late-century publication of private wrongs
Summary In Contempt: Nineteenth-Century Women, Law, and Literature, by Kristin Kalsem, explores the legal advocacy performed by nineteenth-century women writers in publications of nonfiction and fiction, as well as in real-life courtrooms and in the legal forum provided by the novel form. The nineteenth century was a period of unprecedented reform in laws affecting married women's property, child support and custody, lunacy, divorce, birth control, domestic violence, and women in the legal profession. Women's contributions to these changes in the law, however, have been largely ignored because their work, stories, and perspectives are not recorded in authoritative legal texts; rather, evidence of their arguments and views are recorded in writings of a different kind. This book examines lesser-known works of nonfiction and fiction by legal reformers such as Annie Besant and Georgina Weldon and novelists such as Frances Trollope, Jane Hume Clapperton, George Paston, and Florence Dixie. In Contempt brings to light new connections between Victorian law and literature, not only with its analysis of many "lost" novels but also with its new legal readings of old ones such as Emily Brontë's Wuthering Heights (1847), George Eliot's Adam Bede (1859), Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland (1865), Rider Haggard's She (1887), and Thomas Hardy's Jude the Obscure (1895). This study reexamines the cultural and political roles of the novel in light of "new evidence" that many nineteenth-century novels were "lawless"--showing contempt for, rather than policing, the law
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