By Anna Krugovoy Silver
Anna Silver examines the methods nineteenth-century British writers used actual states of the feminine body--hunger, urge for food, fats and slenderness--in the production of woman characters. She argues that anorexia nervosa, first clinically determined in 1873, serves as a paradigm for the cultural perfect of middle-class womanhood in Victorian Britain. Silver makes use of the works of quite a lot of writers (including Charlotte Brontë, Christina Rossetti, Charles Dickens, Bram Stoker and Lewis Carroll) to illustrate that mainstream types of middle-class Victorian womanhood percentage very important characteristics with the ideals or behaviors of the anorexic lady.
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Additional info for Victorian Literature and the Anorexic Body (Cambridge Studies in Nineteenth-Century Literature and Culture)
Gluttony, for this reason, is in detail associated with rampant sexuality. now not unusually, the only solid woman within the room, flowers, doesn't “take rather a lot as a fork” (), recalling the cultural concept that small appetites are symbolic of advantage, strength of will, and femininity. finally, urge for food differentiates flowers from her colossal self, the Queen. while plants refuses to consume, the Queen consumes “of candies on my own one quart of strawberry ice, 3 pine apples, melons, a rating of m´eringues, and approximately 4 dozen sticks of angelica” (). simply as Lizzie doubles Laura, the Queen doubles flowers by way of representing her urge for food and hence her latent sexuality. as the Queen organizes and supervises Hunt the Pincushion and Self aid, she, like Carroll’s Queen of Hearts, is the main sexualized and competitive baby within the enchanted room. plant life additionally has the capability to develop into a gluttonous and impulsive Queen, yet she renounces the chance: on the finish of the tale, while the youngsters construct homes out of glass bricks and “to her utter dismay” () plant life ﬁnds herself walled up with the Queen, she fast escapes, thereby rejecting her personal worst impulses. in contrast to Laura, who's redeemed on the finish of “Goblin marketplace” regardless of her “fall” into sensual wisdom, the Queen is rarely redeemed. Gluttony is a sin, natural and easy. therefore, regardless of photographs that recommend a thorough critique of men’s sexual violence opposed to girls, the story’s conservative finishing reiﬁes the belief of lady sexuality as a disruptive and dangerous strength. as the moment a part of the talking Likenesses trilogy lacks the overt sexual measurement of the ﬁrst and 3rd components, it's much less compelling inside of a dialogue of Rossetti’s conﬂation of gluttony and lust. notwithstanding, the tale represents an incredible narrative bridge among the ﬁrst and 3rd tales. in keeping with religious allegories like Pilgrim’s development, conversing Likenesses revolves round the protagonists’ renunciation of self, Victorian Literature and the Anorexic physique symbolized by means of their suppression of urge for food. As Nina Auerbach and U. C. Knoepﬂmacher word: “The tales ascend because the Christian soul does, from Flora’s birthday hell to Edith’s purgatory . . . to the martyred Maggie’s cold heaven. ” within the successive tales of the trilogy, Rossetti’s heroines are more and more capable of deny their appetites and are, as a result, more and more much less tormented. Edith, the second one story’s topic, has been promised a “gipsy banquet” () through her mom. status within the kitchen with the prepare dinner, Edith pesters her with questions on the imminent meal, asking: “What are we to have along with sandwiches and muffins” ()? “Cold fowls, and a syllabub, and poo, and tea espresso, and potato-lunns, and tongue, and that i can’t say what along with” (), the servant responds, revealing that the dinner party might be huge. Bored and stressed, Edith deals to boil the kettle for tea instantly, the narrator undercuts the goodness of her habit. not just does Edith exhibit her personal urge for food in her eagerness to hasten the meal, however the reader has already discovered that she “thought herself certainly not any such little or no lady, and at any price as clever as her elder brother, sister, and nurse” ().