Married, Middlebrow, and Militant

Sarah Grand and the New Woman Novel
Teresa Mangum
Examines the life and work of this daring nineteenth-century author and women's rights advocate

Description

Between 1880 and 1920, the New Woman novel outraged "ladies," rallied women's rights activists, and inspired women readers and writers to harness an emerging popular literary market to their own political purposes. British author and activist Sarah Grand (1854-1943) took center stage, popularizing the term "New Woman," marching for suffrage, lecturing from platforms in Britain and America, and publishing fiction and essays that challenged the most powerful obstacle to middle-class militancy--marriage.

Married, Middle-Brow, and Militant indicates that Grand's dedication to reforming rather than abandoning marriage was based on the belief that changing the institution would lead to the legal, social, and personal transformation of both men and women. Writing across a range of sub-genres, she sought to loosen the hold of the marriage plot in fiction that called for New Women, New Men, and new social and literary plots. For her, and those like her, the middle-brow novel held militant potential to inspire immediate, intimate, and electric change.

Teresa Mangum has examined a range of primary materials, including Grand's correspondence and the cartoons and periodical literature of the day, and further illuminates Grand's work by considering how it relates to women's history and feminist theories of narrative and desire. Deftly combining biography and criticism, the book also documents the antagonism of conventional critics to both the New Woman and new and popular forms of fiction that are still denigrated as middle-brow.

Teresa Mangum is Associate Professor of English, University of Iowa.

Praise / Awards

  • "Mangum gives us new, exact, and exacting readings of Grand, reminding us that while Grand's middle-of-the-road position conflicted with both conservative and radical outer limits, it was palatable to the general public, and allowed her fiction to participate in the dynamic, if slow, process of social change. Married, Middlebrow, and Militant will ensure that Sarah Grand's centrality to Victorian culture achieves due recognition and will send workers in the New Woman industry off in further and valuable directions."
    --Angelique Richardson, University of Exeter, Victorian Studies, Summer 1999/2000
  • "Mangum's particular achievement in this study is to show us vividly and concretely the historical context within which Grand argued for this educating role of the novel. Not only does she locate Grand's fiction amid the era's broad debates about the New Woman and cultural degeneration, but she places Grand's work within the institutions that shaped the novel in the period--examining her correspondence with publishers, reviews of her books in women's magazines, and reports from women's club meetings at which Grand spoke or where her work was read. Most importantly, this material allows Mangum to take seriously the category of middlebrow literature, which is often overlooked in our critical impulse to stratify culture between the more glamorous arenas of high and low. . . ."
    --Tamar Katz, Brown University, English Literature in Transition 1880-1920, Volume 44: No. 1 (2001)
  • "Mangum's clear prose and her attention to Grand's biography as well as her fiction will make this project of interest to a broad audience."
    --Ann Ardis, University of Delaware
  • "Mangum has written a fascinating literary and social history of the new woman as she appeared in fiction and reality. . . . An absorbing read, Mangum's well-researched study of how Grand (and other writers) used middlebrow literature to agitate for social change will hold the attention of anyone interested in women's changing image in literature or in women's studies in general. An important addition to scholarship on turn-of-the-century women."
    --S. A. Inness, Miami University, Choice, July/August 1999
  • "Magnum's study offers a wide-ranging, informative and sophisticated contextualization and detailed, theoretically astute analysis of Sarah Grand's work and thoughts...Magnum's book makes for compelling reading and will prove an invaluable tool for New Woman scholars, feminists, and critics writing in the field of fin-de-siecle literature and cultural studies."
     
    ---Nineteenth-Century Contexts

    --Nineteenth-Century Contexts

Product Details

  • 6 x 9.
  • 304pp.
  • 7 photographs.
Available for sale worldwide

  • Hardcover
  • 1999
  • Available
  • 978-0-472-10977-7

Add to Cart
  • $85.00 U.S.

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