chapter  10
6 Pages

Reviewing the subject of women: the sensation novel and the 'Girl of the Period'

The struggle over the meaning of woman was particularly fierce in the pages of the Saturday Review, as will be clear from the nature of various examples I have already given. I want to look, finally, at a series of important articles, published in 1868, which drew together and thus (so to speak) retrospectively illuminate many of the concerns and anxieties about the upheavals of the sensation decade. These essays (most of which were written by Eliza Lynn Linton) made a concerted effort to stabilise the discourse on gender, by reinstating a nostalgically evoked domestic ideal of the womanly woman, and by ridiculing and satirising any deviations from this norm.