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Houston, Gail Turley, 1950-
Victorian women writers, radical grandmothers, and the gendering of God / Gail Turley Houston
Columbus : Ohio State University Press, c2013
book jacket
Location Call Number Status
 4th Floor  PR115 .H68 2013    AVAILABLE
Subject(s) English literature -- Women authors -- History and criticism
English literature -- 19th century -- History and criticism
Women authors, English -- 19th century
Religion and literature
Religion in literature
Goddess religion in literature
Subject Brontë, Charlotte, 1816-1855 -- Criticism and interpretation
Jameson, Mrs. (Anna), 1794-1860 -- Criticism and interpretation
Browning, Elizabeth Barrett, 1806-1861 -- Criticism and interpretation
Nightingale, Florence, 1820-1910 -- Criticism and interpretation
Eliot, George, 1819-1880 -- Criticism and interpretation
Physical Description xi, 181 p. ; 23 cm
Note Includes bibliographical references (p. 145-170) and index
Contents Introduction : antecedents of the Victorian "goddess story" -- "Gods of the old mythology arise" : Charlotte Brontë's vision of the "goddess story" -- Feminist reincarnations of the Madonna : Anna Jameson and ecclesiastical debates on the immaculate conception -- Invoking "all the godheads" : Elizabeth Barrett Browning's polytheistic aesthetic -- Eve, the female messiah, and the Virgin in Florence Nightingale's personal and public papers -- Ariadne and the Madonna : the hermeneutics of the goddess in George Eliot's Romola
Summary "If Victorian women writers yearned for authorial forebears, or, in Elizabeth Barrett Browning's words, for "grandmothers," there were, Gail Turley Houston argues, grandmothers who in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries envisioned powerful female divinities that would reconfigure society. Like many Victorian women writers, they experienced a sense of what Barrett Browning termed "mother-want" inextricably connected to "mother-god-want." These millenarian and socialist feminist grandmothers believed the time had come for women to initiate the earthly paradise that patriarchal institutions had failed to establish. Recuperating a symbolic divine in the form of the Great Mother--a pagan Virgin Mary, a female messiah, and a titanic Eve--Joanna Southcott, Eliza Sharples, Frances Wright, and others set the stage for Victorian women writers to envision and impart emanations of puissant Christian and pagan goddesses, enabling them to acquire the authorial legitimacy patriarchal culture denied them. Though the Victorian authors studied by Houston--Barrett Browning, Charlotte Brontë, Florence Nightingale, Anna Jameson, and George Eliot--often masked progressive rhetoric, even in some cases seeming to reject these foremothers, their radical genealogy reappeared in mystic, metaphysical revisions of divinity that insisted that deity be understood, at least in part, as substantively female." -- Publisher's description
NOTE 531265
Series Literature, religion, and postsecular studies

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