The first full-length study of modern technologies in late-Victorian New Woman writing
This book examines late nineteenth-century feminism in relation to technologies of the time, marking the crucial role of technology in social and literary struggles for equality. The New Woman, the fin de siècle cultural archetype of early feminism, became the focal figure for key nineteenth-century debates concerning issues such as gender and sexuality, evolution and degeneration, science, empire and modernity. While the New Woman is located in the debates concerning the 'crisis in gender' or 'sexual anarchy' of the time, the period also saw an upsurge of new technologies of communication, transport and medicine. As this monograph demonstrates, literature of the time is inevitably caught up in this technological modernity: technologies such as the typewriter, the bicycle, and medical technologies, through literary texts come to work as freedom machines, as harbingers of female emancipation.
- An important addition, specifically in its focus on gender relations, to the growing field of literature and technology studies
- Examines New Woman fictions by overlooked authors such as Grant Allen, Tom Gallon, H. G. Wells, Margaret Todd and Mathias McDonnell Bodkin
- Highlights the crucial connection between gender, medicine and technology in the late nineteenth century through the neglected figures of the New Woman nurse and doctor