By William Shakespeare
A tender girl tells of her seduction and abandoment by way of a tender guy who proves to be unworthy of her appeal and wonder.
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I focus on the act of eating and on body size in two of the nineteenth-centuries greatest vampire tales, Bram Stoker’s Dracula and Sheridan Le Fanu’s “Carmilla,” and in George Du Maurier’s Trilby, with its vampiric villain, Svengali. Chapter examines Rossetti’s poetry, devotional prose, and children’s story Speaking Likenesses. I end with Rossetti because her work moves the Introduction analysis of representations of hunger in Victorian literature from the secular to the sacred sphere. Rossetti’s work has already been termed anorexic by some scholars, which, while at ﬁrst glance convincing, ignores her deeply held theological beliefs.
Desire to wear precisely the same kind of dress. Sarah Stickney Ellis, Daughters of England The remarkable similarity between Orbach’s and Ellis’s observations indicates that the wish to adapt to one predominant standard of beauty bridges nineteenth- and twentieth-century women’s experiences, and that contemporary complaints about the tyranny of slenderness have antecedents in the Victorian era. Nineteenth-century writers were well aware of the importance of beauty, including slenderness, in women’s lives, so discussions of the existence of a Victorian “beauty myth” do not merely impose a twenty-ﬁrst-century concept upon the nineteenth century.
However, these ideas were commonplace enough, and conform closely enough to anorexia nervosa as an illness, that Victorian Britain represents a developing, if still inchoate, anorexic culture. If anorexia was ﬁrst diagnosed in , in other words, and if culture is productive of eating disorders, then there must have been aspects of Victorian ideology, speciﬁcally gender ideology, that made the development of the disease possible. It is these aspects of Victorian culture that this book will explore.