A Prison of Expectations: The Family in Victorian Culture
The stereotypical Victorian family, although represented in innumerable daguerrotypes, is as much fantasy as reality. The Victorian family took many ... Show synopsis The stereotypical Victorian family, although represented in innumerable daguerrotypes, is as much fantasy as reality. The Victorian family took many forms, and in this ambitious and highly original book, Steven Mintz enters five different homes in order to shed light on critical aspects of middle-class character and family during the era. By investigating the private lives of five of the most famous and influential novelists--Robert Louis Stevenson, George Eliot, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Catharine Sedgwick, and Samuel Butler--Mintz traces patterns of intersection between family dynamics and larger cultural problems of authority, legitimacy, and discipline in nineteenth-century Britain and America. More specifically, he explores the struggles to achieve a personal independence within a Victorian home and the larger historical struggle to adapt the older traditions of deference, authority, and responsibility to the emerging realities of a democratic age.