Title

Gender and Sexuality in Victorian England: An Analysis of The Autobiography of Christopher Kirkland

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

Summer 2002

Publication Title

Guidance & Counseling

Volume

17

Issue

4

Abstract

This paper examines Eliza Lynn Linton's experience as a result of her conflicting sentiments about English Victorian gendered norms. Linton's “male” ambition facilitated her entrance into the male work sphere, yet her writing preached the values of domesticity while denigrating women such as herself, who sought careers. Eliza's gender dilemma was best projected in her autobiographical novel, The Autobiography of Christopher Kirkland (1885). This text, which evokes the ambivalence between her acclamation of femininity and her “mannish” behaviour, indicates the tenuous structure of gender and emotional norms. The “role” Eliza assumes as a male suitor, while suggesting interesting meanings about her real-life male and female relationships, hints at the multifaceted nature of her desire. This study of culture may inform current considerations of gender and sexual identity.

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