Victorian women /

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Main Author: Perkin, Joan.
Format: Book
Published:Washington Square, N.Y. : New York University Press, 1995.
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Review by Choice Review

Perkin's comprehensive account of the lives of 19th-century English women, from birth to old age, is a useful addition to the growing literature on this subject. Eschewing secondary studies, Perkin relies exclusively on memoirs, letters, and other contemporary accounts to explicate the quality of everyday life during a period of immense social change. Among other things, she examines the status of women with reference to work patterns, marriage, sexuality, and education. Her analysis of class and gender differences is striking; she makes clear that working-class women suffered greater disabilities in almost every area. Likewise, her discussion of the inequalities of English law is poignant. Through direct testimony, Perkin recounts instances of divorced and separated women being permanently barred from seeing their children, and of married women entirely stripped of financial means by their husbands. Yet, her assessment is judicious; although warmly sympathetic to the plight of women she never overstates the case. All levels. J. H. Wiener; CUNY City College

Copyright American Library Association, used with permission.

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