The status of middle-class Englishwomen in Victorian society 1825-1870



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Many general histories and monographs deal with nineteenth-century English life. Most of these works reflect the dynamism of the age, the momentum of industrial power and the growth of England's empire. The role played by women in the events that changed England from an agrarian society to an industrial giant is not readily apparent. The two classes of women usually portrayed in such works are the laboring poor, who eked out a living alongside men in the factories and mines, and the grand ladies, who enjoyed privilege, wealth and, often, title. Neither group, however, represents the middle-class woman who emerged from the din of industrial progress as the guardian of domestic comfort and the personification of virtue. The latter are generally misunderstood. It is supposed that they sat idle while an army of servants tended to their domestic chores and an equal number of nurses and governesses reared their children. This thesis is a reassessment of middle-class women's place in the fabric of society in Victorian England.



History, Great Britain, Nineteenth century, Women, Middle class women