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Before Victoria: Extraordinary Women of the British Romantic Era
Elizabeth Campbell Denlinger; Foreword by Lyndall Gordon
The lives of British women were transformed during the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries -- the period we now call the Romantic era. In the wake of the French Revolution, political equality and something like a sexual revolution for women seemed possible, and thanks in part to Mary Wollstonecraft's A Vindication of the Rights of Woman (1792), the legal and social restrictions under which women lived were briefly but hotly contested. But by the time Victoria inherited the throne in 1837, different, gentler changes had occurred -- ones that inspired poetry, plays, and paintings as well as new ways of understanding feminine roles and sexuality.
This vividly illustrated companion volume to a major Library exhibition tells the stories of a variety of fascinating women -- mothers and wives, courtesans and prostitutes, actresses and artists, aristocratic gamblers and libertines, writers, scientists, and travelers -- putting them in the context of their extraordinary revolutionary moment.
192 pages, b/w and full color illustrations throughout. Published by Columbia University Press, 2005.
Hardcover. $29.50. ISBN 0-231-13631-5.