A Prison of Expectations: The Family in Victorian Culture

Front Cover
New York University Press, 1983 - History - 234 pages
1 Review

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 novelistsóRobert Louis Stevenson, George Eliot, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Catharine Sedgwick, and Samuel ButleróMintz 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.

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Review: A Prison Of Expectations: The Family In Victorian Culture

User Review  - Serafina - Goodreads

Admittedly, most of my knowledge of Victorian families is derived from novels and movies. This work examines how much of our perception of the Victorian family is real. If you are intrigued by the 19th century, read this book. Read full review

About the author (1983)

Steven Mintz received his B.A. degree from Oberlin College and his Ph.D. from Yale University. He taught at Oberlin before joining the Department of History at the University of Houston where he is Assistant Professor.

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