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Author McMahon, Deirdre Holden
Title Strange family stories: Race and domesticity in nineteenth-century British literature (Charles Dickens, Mary Seacole, Wilkie Collins, G. A. Henty, Mary Kingsley)
book jacket
Descript 360 p
Note Source: Dissertation Abstracts International, Volume: 65-12, Section: A, page: 4575
Supervisor: Florence S. Boos
Thesis (Ph.D.)--The University of Iowa, 2004
Combining feminist and postcolonial analyses, Strange Family Stories: Race and Domesticity in Nineteenth-Century British Literature is a project in cultural and literary history that charts changing constructions of race and gender in nineteenth-century Britain, thus furthering our understanding of the period, its literary narratives, and its scientific and popular discourses. Through the examination of both extraliterary materials and works by well-known Victorian writers, including Charles Dickens, Mary Seacole, Wilkie Collins, G. A. Henty, and Mary Kingsley, Strange Family Stories demonstrates that for much of the nineteenth century, logics of racial difference were employed not only to separate the British from their colonial subjects, but also to differentiate among groups at home. Building from the position that race is discursively rather than biologically constructed, my dissertation exposes a structural codependence between the categories of race and sex, which is most clearly articulated through discourses of hearth, home, and nation. Thus, far from being a separate sphere, nineteenth-century domesticity provides a lens with which to examine British national and imperial self-definition. Strange Family Stories provides the first extensive study of the ways in which narratives of domesticity underpin nineteenth-century British constructions of race; moreover, my analysis of Victorian domesticity reveals that a critical assumption of British whiteness has obscured issues not only of race, but also of sex and the control of female bodies
School code: 0096
Host Item Dissertation Abstracts International 65-12A
Subject Literature, English
Alt Author The University of Iowa
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