Charlotte Mary Yonge was one of the most prolific writers of the nineteenth century. Though perhaps best known for her popular children’s books, she also wrote adult novels. Swiftly-plotted and cleanly-wrought, Yonge’s work has again gained critical attention, in part because she writes about the predicament of nineteenth-century women.
The Clever Woman of the Family is a new woman novel that focuses on a group of women in a small seaside community. It is the early 1860s and British women outnumber men to such an extent that not all women can expect to marry. Rachel Curtis, the clever woman of the title, is an opinionated young woman whose yearning for a “mission” in life leads to tragicomic results. The Broadview edition contextualizes the novel’s ambivalent feminism and pro-empire sentiments with materials on some of the most pertinent debates of the time.
Broadview Press, 2001.ISBN: 9781551112213. 601 pp.Softcover. Fine.
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