Queen Victoria's Secrets

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Columbia University Press, 1996 - Biography & Autobiography - 254 pages
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An unconventional figure in an age that excluded women from government, Victoria was accorded prominence unavailable to any male monarch. Yet as Adrienne Munich argues in this fascinating work, the originality of the solid, dour icon that was Victoria lay, paradoxically, in her very ordinariness. The first book to fully investigate the influence of this icon of British history, Queen Victoria's Secrets demonstrates the firm grasp the queen held on the cultural imagination of her country, exploring how Victoria created and maintained her royal authority. Gracefully weaving together feminist, anthropological, and postcolonial approaches, Munich searches out the myriad, often contradictory incarnations of the queen in the minds of her people. How did Victoria convincingly maintain her power for forty years after Prince Albert's death, never giving up her identity as a grieving widow? How did Victorian society's reverential treatment of their queen conflate with the monarch's plain, middle class public image? These are some of the secrets Munich examines in her richly detailed work. In demonstrating the subtle but powerful ways in which Victoria performed significant cultural work, Queen Victoria's Secrets goes against the grain of Victoria scholarship, which has tended to overlook the queen's political and cultural centrality. This stylish, accessible portrait will be of great interest to those who are fascinated by the myth-making and secrets of the Victorian age.

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Queen Victoria's secrets

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As queen of England for over 60 years, Victoria lent her name to an era. Certain forms of literature, morals, mores, fashion, and furniture are all identifiable with an age called Victorian. Munich ... Read full review


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About the author (1996)

Adrienne Munich is director of the women's studies program at the State University of New York at Stony Brook.

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