English literature -- 19th century -- History and criticism., Feminism and literature -- Great Britain -- History -- 19th century., Women and spiritualism -- Great Britain -- History -- 19th century., Women and literature -- Great Britain -- History -- 19th century., Fantasy fiction, English -- History and criticism., Occultism -- Great Britain -- History -- 19th century., Occultism in literature., Feminist fiction, English -- History and criticism., Criticism, interpretation, etc., and History.
"During the Victorian period, women found themselves on trial as never before. As the women's rights movement gathered strength, the advent of a "new witchcraft" revived old notions and fears of female occult power, a belief rooted in the legendary guilt of the female sex. This intriguing volume examines the impact of this nineteenth-century occult revival on the Victorian women's movement, both in the lives of individual women and in the literature surrounding "the Woman Question."" "While drawing on a wide range of literary texts, by such writers as the Bronte sisters, William Wilkie Collins, Benjamin Disraeli, and Arthur Conan Doyle, The Trial of Woman also examines the lives and careers of a number of historically significant women, from Florence Nightingale and Lady Byron (whose relationship with her daughter, the mathematician, Ada Lovelace, is the subject of the first chapter) to Madame Blavatsky, as well as interesting but lesser-known figures such as Amelia B. Edwards and Joanna Southcott who was convinced she was the Woman of Revelations, one of the three most important women ever born." "As Victorian culture struggled for a sense of coherence, the Occult Woman was repeatedly presented as the figure that best embodied what was perceived as problematic or dysfunctional about Victorian life, while at the same time holding a possible key to harmony and integration. That key appears, for the Victorians, to have concerned the female menstrual cycle, itself the object of anxious discussion about the legendary, occult powers of women. Although menstruation--known alternatively as the "time of flowers" and the "curse of Eve"--was a taboo phenomenon seldom directly addressed, it was central because of all it implied concerning women's biological and psychic otherness."--BOOK JACKET.