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Look Inside The Tragi-Comedy of Victorian Fatherhood

The Tragi-Comedy of Victorian Fatherhood

$118.00 (C)

Part of Cambridge Studies in Nineteenth-Century Literature and Culture

  • Date Published: April 2009
  • availability: In stock
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9780521884785

$ 118.00 (C)

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About the Authors
  • Examining Victorian middle-class fatherhood from the fathers' own perspective, Valerie Sanders dismantles the persistent stereotype of the nineteenth-century paterfamilias by focusing on the intimate family lives of influential public men. Beginning with Prince Albert as a high-profile patriarchal role-model, and comparing the parallel case histories of prominent Victorians such as Dickens, Darwin, Huxley and Gladstone, the book explores the strains on men in public life as they managed their private relationship with their children and found a language for the expression of their pleasure, grief and anxiety as fathers. In a context of cultural uncertainty about the legal rights and moral responsibilities of fatherhood, the study draws on a wealth of unpublished journals and letters to show how conscientious Victorian fathers in effect invented a meaningful domestic role for themselves which has been little understood.

    • Explores and challenges accepted ideas about the overbearing Victorian father
    • Specific examples of fatherhood include major public figures such as Darwin, Dickens and Kingsley
    • Uses unpublished diaries, letters and memorial pieces giving access to little-known personal material
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    Reviews & endorsements

    "[Sanders's] talents and energy as a researcher are prodigious and enviable, uncovering a wealth of detail about the fatherly lives of her subjects that makes for extremely compelling reading. She has examined not only published correspondence and journals--a feat of awe-inspiring magnitude in the case of Dickens, Darwin, and Gladstone--but archived materials and periodical writing as well."
    -Eileen Gillooly,

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    Product details

    • Date Published: April 2009
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9780521884785
    • length: 264 pages
    • dimensions: 235 x 158 x 18 mm
    • weight: 0.56kg
    • availability: In stock
  • Table of Contents

    Introduction: looking for the Victorian father
    1. The failure of fatherhood at mid-century: four case histories
    2. Theatrical fatherhood: Dickens and Macready
    3. 'How?' and 'Why?': Kingsley as educating father
    4. Matthew and Son (and Father): the Arnolds
    5. 'A fine degree of paternal fervour': scientifc fathering
    6. Death comes for the Archbishop (and Prime Minister)

  • Author

    Valerie Sanders, University of Hull

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