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Woman's Work in English Fiction From the Restoration to the Mid-Victorian Period   By:

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Clara Helen Whitmore’s extensive analysis, "Woman's Work in English Fiction From the Restoration to the Mid-Victorian Period," delves deep into the historical and societal context surrounding women in fiction during a significant period. This engaging work provides readers with a comprehensive understanding of the evolving portrayal of women in English literature, allowing them to critically evaluate the progression and limitations of gender roles during that time.

Whitmore's book captures the essence of a transformative era, offering a meticulous examination of female characters in works by various authors. With impressive scholarship, the author demonstrates a thorough comprehension of the literary landscape and the significant milestones in women's rights during this time. By skillfully weaving in historical events, social conventions, and cultural attitudes, Whitmore contextualizes the narratives and their impact on societal perception of women.

One of the strengths of "Woman's Work" lies in its exhaustive research and meticulous analysis. The book offers a comprehensive overview of notable female characters, highlighting their development as well as the cultural significance of their narratives. Whitmore investigates how women were portrayed within the confines of societal expectations, emphasizing the importance of considering both contextual limitations and the relative subversion of established gender roles.

Additionally, the author's insightful examination of the social and political movements during this period allows readers to better understand the broader implications of the representation of women in literature. Whitmore effectively showcases how societal changes influenced the portrayal of female characters, shedding light on the pivotal relationship between literature and society.

Moreover, Whitmore's writing style is both accessible and engaging, making the book suitable for a wide range of readers. While academic in nature, the prose remains approachable and well-structured, ensuring that readers do not feel overwhelmed by the depth of analysis. The author's passion for the subject matter shines through, resulting in a captivating narrative that holds the reader's attention from beginning to end.

However, amidst the book's many strengths, one minor criticism arises from the occasional repetition of ideas. At times, some analysis and observations can feel redundant, diminishing the overall impact. Nonetheless, this does not significantly detract from the overall quality and relevance of the work.

In conclusion, Clara Helen Whitmore's "Woman's Work in English Fiction From the Restoration to the Mid-Victorian Period" is an essential read for anyone interested in the portrayal of women in literature during this transformative era. With its scholarly depth and accessible prose, the book offers a compelling exploration of both the constraints and advancements made in the representation of women. Whitmore's meticulous research and insightful analysis make this work an invaluable resource for literary scholars and enthusiasts alike.

First Page:

Woman's Work in English Fiction

From the Restoration to the Mid Victorian Period

By Clara H. Whitmore, A.M.

G. P. Putnam's Sons New York and London The Knickerbocker Press 1910

COPYRIGHT, 1909 BY CLARA H. WHITMORE The Knickerbocker Press, New York


The writings of many of the women considered in this volume have sunk into an oblivion from which their intrinsic merit should have preserved them. This is partly due to the fact that nearly all the books on literature have been written from a man's stand point. While in other arts the tastes of men and women vary little, the choice of novels is to a large degree determined by sex. Many men who acknowledge unhesitatingly that Jane Austen is superior as an artist to Smollett, will find more pleasure in the breezy adventures of Roderick Random than in the drawing room atmosphere of Emma ; while no woman can read a novel of Smollett's without loathing, although she must acknowledge that the Scottish writer is a man of genius... Continue reading book >>

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