Cover image for Sexual anarchy : gender and culture at the fin de siècle
Sexual anarchy : gender and culture at the fin de siècle
Showalter, Elaine.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : Viking, 1990.
Physical Description:
242 pages ; 24 cm
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PR468.F46 S56 1990 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area
PR468.F46 S56 1990 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks-Non circulating

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Author Notes

In 1977, Showalter published A Literature of Their Own: British Women Novelists from Bronte to Lessing. It was one of the most influential works in feminist criticism, as it sought to establish a distinctive tradition for women writers. In later essays, Showalter helped to develop a clearly articulated feminist theory with two major branches: the special study of works by women and the study of all literature from a feminist perspective. In all of her recent writing, Showalter has sought to illuminate a "cultural model of female writing," distinguishable from male models and theories. Her role as editor bringing together key contemporary feminist criticism has been extremely influential on modern literary study. (Bowker Author Biography) Elaine Showalter is chairperson of the department of English at Princeton University & the author of "A Literature of Their Own" & "Sexual Anarchy". A frequent contributor & book reviewer for American magazines & British newspapers, including the "London Times Literary Supplement", she also has written television reviews for "People". Showalter lives in Princeton, New Jersey.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

Although the chapters in this interpretation of nonconforming women at the fin de siecle can be read in any order, they are united by the reappearance of the odd woman, a role that originally defined superfluous women--single, hysterical, "sexually unemployed," a threat to the institution of marriage--but came to encompass emerging characteristics of the new woman. Showalter's historiography, cultural analysis, literary hermeneutics, and political commentary are masterful and, oddly enough for a work on irremediably repulsive practices, compelling. The prejudices and fears of Victorian/Edwardian men appear to emerge from science fiction and at the same time to speak for the repressions of men today. Showalter's readings of contemporary culture are no less rewarding than her history. Her interpretation of David Cronenberg's film Dead Ringer is a model of its kind. One cavil: she writes without irony that the clitoris was "discovered by an anatomist appropriately named Columbus in the 16th century." Nobody noticed it until then? --Roland Wulbert

Library Journal Review

A history of the sexes and the crises, themes, and problems associated with the battle for sexual supremacy and identity, this work draws striking cultural parallels between the end of the 19th century and the end of the 20th century. Showalter explores the history and attitudes toward homosexuality, unmarried men and women, the concepts of masculinity and femininity, sexual fears and fantasies, sexual surgery, and sexual epidemics as represented in psychological, medical, and literary texts, visual art, and film. Fascinating and provocative, this book reflects the realities of history repeating itself and the impact of gender crisis on culture.-- Jeris Cassel, Rutgers Univ. Libs., New Brunswick, N.J. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.