By Helena Michie
Helena Michie's provocative new paintings seems to be at how women's our bodies are portrayed in various Victorian literary and non-literary genres--from portray, poems, and novels, to etiquette, books, intercourse manuals, and pornography. After opting for a sequence of codes and taboos that govern the depiction of girls in such actions as consuming and dealing, she then turns to the actual descriptions of Victorian heroines, targeting these elements in their our bodies which are erased, and on those who turn into fetishized in traditional description. Her vibrant research strikes ahead in time with a attention of 20th-century "second wave" feminism and a dialogue of the poetics of the physique as articulated by means of feminist writers on either side of the Atlantic. employing feminist, poststructuralist, and psychoanalytic bills of the determine of girl, and the relation of the physique to the textual content, The Flesh Made note deals clean readings of works by way of writers as assorted because the Bront?s, Dickens, Eliot, Gaskell, Trollope, Hardy, Adrienne wealthy, Olga Broumas, Audre Lorde, and Louise Gluck.
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Extra info for The Flesh Made Word: Female Figures and Women's Bodies
Given the physical nature of Victorian perceptions of the differences between working-class and leisure-class women, it is not surprising that such work was seen and discussed in terms of metaphors of the body; women's work, along with eating, took place in the complex Aesopian network of language that simultaneously revealed and erased women's bodily experience. Women who earned their bread, or in Trollope's more extended metaphor, their "bread and cheese,"2 inevitably made their bodies, as well as their work, public.
Margaret at once defends her action as work, transfiguring what could be interpreted as an erotic moment. 46 THE FLESH MADE WORD If I saved one blow, one cruel, angry action that might otherwise have been committed, I did a woman's work. Let them insult my maiden pride as they will—I walk pure before God (North and South, p. 191). " The act of making her body public causes her to swoon and bleed and John to confess his love for her. John's mother complains that Margaret has "thrown herself" at her son in a sexual manner.
In America, Louisa May Alcott's Work is a testament to the power of the bodily metaphor and to the author's political and moral oscillation between a protectionist and a feminist stance. In the course of the book, Christie, the heroine, moves through a series of jobs; she is in turn a servant, an actress, a laundress, a governess, a companion, a seamstress, a florist and (after her marriage and widowhood) a feminist speaker and a philanthropist. After each experience the job is assessed in terms of Christie's physical appearance.