Starting Over

Feminism and the Politics of Cultural Critique
Judith Newton
Explores the relationships among cultural criticism, materialist feminist criticism, and mainstream feminist work


For more than a decade Judith Newton has been at the forefront of defining and promoting materialist feminist criticism. Starting Over brings together a selection of her essays that chart the establishment of feminist literary criticism in the academy and its relation to other forms of cultural criticism, including Marxist, post-Marxist, new historicist, and cultural materialist approaches, as well as cultural studies.

The essays in Starting Over have functioned as exemplars of interdisciplinary thinking, mapping out the ways in which reading strategies and the constructions of history, culture, identity, change, and agency in various materialist theories overlap, and the ways in which feminist-materialist work both draws upon, revises, and complicates the vision of nonfeminist materialist critiques. They are shaped by an awareness that public knowledge is always informed by the so-called private realm of familial and sexual relations and that cultural criticism must bring together investigations of daily behaviors, economic and social relations, and the dynamics of race, class, gender, and sexual struggle.

Starting Over is a brilliant synthesis of literature, history, anthropology, the many influential trends in contemporary theory, and the politics of feminism.

Praise / Awards

  • "Written over the course of the last decade or so, several of the essays collected in Judith Newton's Starting Over can be classed amongst he most influential and incisive critiques of contemporary critical practice within or beyond Victorian studies. . . . Newton consistently contests . . . the practices of a variety of critical modes—feminist ones among them—in a manner that unabashedly privileges some political ends over others in a kind of partisanship that impresses by both its rigor and its rhetorical force. Re-reading these familiar essays alongside some newer, more properly Victorian ones, in which Neton takes up related issues of the gendering of cultural authority in the 1830s, reveals that struggles over discourse today are indeed no more or less complex, contested, or directly political in their aims and consequences than they were for the Victorians."
    Victorian Studies

Look Inside


Preface     ix
Acknowledgments     xxi

Toward a Materialist-Feminist Criticism
With Deborah Rosenfelt     1

History as Usual? Feminism and the New Historicism     27

Family Fortunes: History and Literature in Materialist-Feminist Work     59

Historicisms New and Old: "Charles Dickens" Meets Marxism, Feminism, and West Coast Foucault     79

Sex and Political Economy in the Edinburgh Review     97

"Ministers of the Interior": The Political Economy of Women's Manuals     125

Learning Not to Curse; or, Feminist Predicaments in Cultural Criticism by Men: Our Movie Date with James Clifford and Stephen Greenblatt
With Judith Stacey     149

Starting Over: An Afterword     177

Works Cited     195

Product Details

  • 232 pages.
Available for sale worldwide

  • Ebook
  • 2012
  • Available
  • 978-0-472-02938-9

  • PDF: Adobe Digital Editions e-book (DRM Protected)

Add to Cart
  • $26.95 U.S.

  • Kindle

Add to Cart

Choosing any of the above format options will take you to the appropriate e-retailer to complete your purchase. Pricing may vary by individual e-retailer. Please see e-retailer site for purchasing information.

For more information about our Digital Products, including reading systems and accessible formats, visit our Digital Products page.

Related Products

Add to Cart
  • $84.95 U.S.

Add to Cart
  • $25.95 U.S.



  • materialist feminism, new historicism, feminist criticism, Marxist criticism, Marxist feminist criticism,  West Coast Foucault, political economy, the woman question, Victorian culture, British middle class