Family Likeness: Sex, Marriage, and Incest from Jane Austen to Virginia Woolf

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9780801447075: Family Likeness: Sex, Marriage, and Incest from Jane Austen to Virginia Woolf

In nineteenth-century England, marriage between first cousins was both legally permitted and perfectly acceptable. After mid-century, laws did not explicitly penalize sexual relationships between parents and children, between siblings, or between grandparents and grandchildren. But for a widower to marry his deceased wife's sister was illegal on the grounds that it constituted incest. That these laws and the mores they reflect strike us today as wrongheaded indicates how much ideas about kinship, marriage, and incest have changed.

In Family Likeness, Mary Jean Corbett shows how the domestic fiction of novelists including Jane Austen, Charlotte Brontë, George Eliot, Elizabeth Gaskell, and Virginia Woolf reflected the shifting boundaries of "family" and even helped refine those borders. Corbett takes up historically contingent and culturally variable notions of who is and is not a relative and whom one can and cannot marry. Her argument is informed by legal and political debates; texts in sociology and anthropology; and discussions on the biology of heredity, breeding, and eugenics. In Corbett's view, marriage within families―between cousins, in-laws, or adoptees―offered Victorian women, both real and fictional, an attractive alternative to romance with a stranger, not least because it allowed them to maintain and strengthen relations with other women within the family.

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From the Back Cover:

"Family Likeness is a fascinating and informative investigation of how families were represented in British novels across the nineteenth century and into the early twentieth. It is a pleasure to read. Mary Jean Corbett presents new information from primary sources and offers fresh interpretations of canonical literary texts. Placing novels in a rich historical context informed by law, anthropology, urban sociology, eugenics, and author biography, she shows how novels reflected and refracted contemporary beliefs and anxieties about changing family forms."-Margaret Homans, Yale University

"Family Likeness is a wide-ranging, gracefully written exploration of changing definitions of incest and kinship in nineteenth-century British literature and culture. By showing how what counts as incest is historically variable, and how who is too close to marry and who too far is constantly undergoing definition, Mary Jean Corbett demonstrates how domestic fiction participates in the ongoing process of defining family."--Kathy Psomiades, Duke University

About the Author:

Mary Jean Corbett is John W. Steube Professor of English and Affiliate of Women's Studies, Miami University.

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Mary Jean Corbett
Editore: Cornell University Press, United States (2008)
ISBN 10: 0801447070 ISBN 13: 9780801447075
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Descrizione libro Cornell University Press, United States, 2008. Hardback. Condizione libro: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. In nineteenth-century England, marriage between first cousins was both legally permitted and perfectly acceptable. After mid-century, laws did not explicitly penalize sexual relationships between parents and children, between siblings, or between grandparents and grandchildren. But for a widower to marry his deceased wife s sister was illegal on the grounds that it constituted incest. That these laws and the mores they reflect strike us today as wrongheaded indicates how much ideas about kinship, marriage, and incest have changed. In Family Likeness, Mary Jean Corbett shows how the domestic fiction of novelists including Jane Austen, Charlotte Bronte, George Eliot, Elizabeth Gaskell, and Virginia Woolf reflected the shifting boundaries of family and even helped refine those borders. Corbett takes up historically contingent and culturally variable notions of who is and is not a relative and whom one can and cannot marry. Her argument is informed by legal and political debates; texts in sociology and anthropology; and discussions on the biology of heredity, breeding, and eugenics. In Corbett s view, marriage within families--between cousins, in-laws, or adoptees--offered Victorian women, both real and fictional, an attractive alternative to romance with a stranger, not least because it allowed them to maintain and strengthen relations with other women within the family. Codice libro della libreria AAZ9780801447075

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Mary Jean Corbett
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Descrizione libro Cornell University Press, United States, 2008. Hardback. Condizione libro: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. In nineteenth-century England, marriage between first cousins was both legally permitted and perfectly acceptable. After mid-century, laws did not explicitly penalize sexual relationships between parents and children, between siblings, or between grandparents and grandchildren. But for a widower to marry his deceased wife s sister was illegal on the grounds that it constituted incest. That these laws and the mores they reflect strike us today as wrongheaded indicates how much ideas about kinship, marriage, and incest have changed. In Family Likeness, Mary Jean Corbett shows how the domestic fiction of novelists including Jane Austen, Charlotte Bronte, George Eliot, Elizabeth Gaskell, and Virginia Woolf reflected the shifting boundaries of family and even helped refine those borders. Corbett takes up historically contingent and culturally variable notions of who is and is not a relative and whom one can and cannot marry. Her argument is informed by legal and political debates; texts in sociology and anthropology; and discussions on the biology of heredity, breeding, and eugenics. In Corbett s view, marriage within families--between cousins, in-laws, or adoptees--offered Victorian women, both real and fictional, an attractive alternative to romance with a stranger, not least because it allowed them to maintain and strengthen relations with other women within the family. Codice libro della libreria AAZ9780801447075

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