Reading Women: Literary Figures and Cultural Icons from the Victorian Age to the Present
Jennifer Phegley, Janet Badia
University of Toronto Press, 2005 - Literary Criticism - 297 pages
Literary and popular culture has often focused its attention on women readers, particularly since early Victorian times. In Reading Women, an esteemed group of new and established scholars provide a close study of the evolution of the woman reader by examining a wide range of nineteenth- and twentieth-century media, including Antebellum scientific treatises, Victorian paintings, and Oprah Winfrey's televised book club, as well as the writings of Charlotte Brontė, Harriet Beecher Stowe, and Zora Neale Hurston.
Attending especially to what, how, and why women read, Reading Women brings together a rich array of subjects that sheds light on the defining role the woman reader has played in the formation, not only of literary history, but of British and American culture. The contributors break new ground by focusing on the impact representations of women readers have had on understandings of literacy and certain reading practices, the development of books and print culture, and the categorization of texts into high and low cultural forms.