Representations of Hair in Victorian Literature and Culture

1st Edition

Galia Ofek

Routledge
Published September 26, 2016
Reference - 284 Pages
ISBN 9781138245648 - CAT# Y312497

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Summary

Galia Ofek's wide-ranging study elucidates the historical, artistic, literary, and theoretical meanings of the Victorians' preoccupation with hair. Victorian writers and artists, Ofek argues, had a well-developed awareness of fetishism as an overinvestment of value in a specific body part and were fully cognizant of hair's symbolic resonance and its value as an object of commerce. In particular, they were increasingly alert to the symbolic significance of hairstyling. Among the writers and artists Ofek considers are Elizabeth Gaskell, George Eliot, Margaret Oliphant, Charles Darwin, Anthony Trollope, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Eliza Lynn Linton, Mary Elizabeth Braddon, Herbert Spencer, Dante Gabriel Rossetti, Edward Burne-Jones, Charles Dickens, Thomas Hardy, and Aubrey Beardsley. By examining fiction, poetry, anthropological and scientific works, newspaper reviews and advertisements, correspondence, jewellery, paintings, and cartoons, Ofek shows how changing patterns of power relations between women and patriarchy are rendered anew when viewed through the lens of Victorian hair codes and imagery during the second half of the nineteenth century.

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