Jessica Cox, The Nineteenth-Century Motherhood Trap: Working Mothers in the Victorian Literary Marketplace

Jessica Cox, Brunel University. Jessica Cox read Wuthering Heights at the age of sixteen, resulting in a developing obsession with all things Victorian. This eventually led to her completing a PhD (on sensation writer Wilkie Collins) at Swansea University in 2007. She is currently a lecturer in English at Brunel University, London. Jessica has research interests in Victorian popular fiction (particularly sensation fiction), the Brontёs, first-wave feminism, and neo-Victorianism. She is the author of a short biography of Charlotte Brontё,

Read more

Images of Victorian Motherhood, Effaced and Exposed

Recently I’ve been contemplating motherhood as it is represented in Victorian hidden mother portraits and Victorian breastfeeding portraits, two fascinating photographic trends. A little over a year ago, I stumbled upon Chelsea Nichols’ post about hidden mothers in Victorian photographs on her blog, The Museum of Ridiculously Interesting Things. These images typically depict a shrouded woman holding or standing behind a baby or child, ostensibly to keep the child still for the camera while remaining out of the image.  The

Read more

Poor Women and Elite Men

Victorian Women, Unwed Mothers and the London Foundling Hospital, by Jessica A. Sheetz-Nguyen, London: Continuum, 2012, xii + 258 pp. (softcover), ISBN 978 1 441 1 4112 5 Elizabeth M., a waitress in a vegetarian restaurant, sought help from the London Foundling Hospital in 1891.  She had met a respectably employed man, Daniel B., a foreman in the office of a dairy company, and the two began courting.  They decided to marry and engaged in sexual intercourse.  She became pregnant

Read more