By Susan Ostrov Weisser
What is the matter of sexual love? Neither which include all facets of sexuality nor absolutely synonomous with the idealized mythos of romantic love, sexual love as hope is marked by way of the hugely charged intersection of sexuality and romantic love; it's a area the place gender is imagined and enacted.
In A yearning Vacancy, Susan Ostrov Weisser examines sexuality within the context of fixing principles of romantic love and feminity in Victorian Britain. Focusing her research at the works of Samuel Richardson, George Eliot, and Emily and Charlotte Bronte, Weisser finds the advanced courting among conceptions of romantic ardour and ideologies of sexuality. She illuminates the Victorian interval as a time while those conceptions have been moving based on altering rules of gender. With shut recognition to textual information, she introduces the idea that of ethical Femininity, putting it in worthy competition to the competing Victorian excellent of the Lady.
By forging a right away hyperlink among sexuality and romantic love ideology within the nineteenth century, and via highlighting the way the literary preoccupation with those matters arises from anxieties in regards to the building of gender, A yearning Vacancy breaks very important new ground.
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Additional info for A Craving Vacancy: Women and Sexual Love in the British Novel, 1740-1880
The concept of Moral Femininity thus absolutely depends on its association with a male sexuality assumed to be 'naturally' aggressive and aggrandizing: the world of the soft and weak and humane is always about to be penetrated, sexually and otherwise, by the menacing force of the liardened'. But Moral Femininity proved neither enduring nor practicable as an idea. While the sentimentalization of domesticity was directly related to the values associated with the lost traditional community, for example, the picture of domestic life that emerges in popular literature and essays in the Victorian period is often far from idealized.
56 It is the myth of home and womanhood in disguised form once again, but without the cumbersome convention of selflessness. Whereas the home with the moral woman in it was a microcosmic haven of human needs, the modern message of sexual love, as it arose with companionate marriage, is that the rumoured 'heaven on earth' is constantly available and universally accessible. This myth was particularly directed to, perpetuated and even partially self-created by women, who stood to lose more from the dissolution of traditional social ties with the onset of industrial capitalism.
In this construction the narrative seems to require of its hero (but really of the reader) that a choice be made between the values of an attractive but dangerous modernity and a threatened, increasingly weakened traditionalism. But then another story seems to take its place within the first, realigning the values which appear to be so clear in the above structure. In this latter configuration, desire appears to be the sign of a strong, authentic, 'real' self liberated from domination, and self-denial is equated with an oppressive demand for submission.