Tainted Souls and Painted Faces: The Rhetoric of Fallenness in Victorian Culture

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Cornell University Press, 1993 - English literature - 250 pages

Prostitute, adulteress, unmarried woman who engages in sexual relations, victim of seduction--the Victorian "fallen woman" represents a complex array of stigmatized conditions. Amanda Anderson here reconsiders the familiar figure of the fallen woman within the context of mid-Victorian debates over the nature of selfhood, gender, and agency. In richly textured readings of works by Charles Dickens, Elizabeth Gaskell, Dante Gabriel Rossetti, and Elizabeth Barrett Browning, among others, she argues that depictions of fallen women express profound cultural anxieties about the very possibility of self-control and traditional moral responsibility.

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Social Science and the Great Social Evil
Agency and Exchange

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About the author (1993)

Amanda Anderson is Andrew W. Mellon Professor of Humanities and English at Brown University and Director of the School of Criticism and Theory at Cornell University. She is the author of The Way We Argue Now: A Study in the Cultures of Theory and Powers of Distance: Cosmopolitanism and the Cultivation of Detachment and coeditor of Disciplinarity at the Fin de Siècle.

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