Philobiblon: The Victorian view of womanhood, from a woman

Thursday, September 15, 2005

The Victorian view of womanhood, from a woman

An eBay impulse purchase (very quiet days at work are so expensive), Shakspeare's [sic] Heroines: Characteristics of Women, Moral, Poetical & Historical, by Mrs Jameson, author of Sacred and Legendary Art etc, London, George Newnes Ltd, Southampton Street, Strand, 1897.

Surprisingly for what otherwise (paper, typography etc) looks like a cheap edition, it has a stunning embossed leather cover:

And I'm trying to still like Mrs Jameson, despite:

"The intellect of woman bears the same relation to that of man as her physical organisation; it is inferior in power, and different in kind. That certain women have surpassed certain men in bodily strength or intellectual energy does not contradict the general principle found in nature. The essential and invariable distinction appears to me this: in men, the intellectual faculties exist more self-poised and self-directed - more independent of the rest of the character, than we ever find them in women, with whom talent, hoever predominant, is in a much greater degree modified by the sympathies and moral qualities." (p. 37)

Interesting contrast to yesterday's early modern version of patriarchy.



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