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Royal Representations

Queen Victoria and British Culture, 1837-1876

Queen Victoria was one of the most complex cultural productions of her age. In Royal Representations, Margaret Homans investigates the meanings Victoria held for her times, Victoria’s own contributions to Victorian writing and art, and the cultural mechanisms through which her influence was felt.

Arguing that being, seeming, and appearing were crucial to Victoria’s "rule," Homans explores the variability of Victoria’s agency and of its representations using a wide array of literary, historical, and visual sources. Along the way she shows how Victoria provided a deeply equivocal model for women’s powers in and out of marriage, how Victoria’s dramatic public withdrawal after Albert’s death helped to ease the monarchy’s transition to an entirely symbolic role, and how Victoria’s literary self-representations influenced debates over political self-representation.

Homans considers versions of Victoria in the work of Elizabeth Barrett Browning, George Eliot, John Ruskin, Margaret Oliphant, Lewis Carroll, Alfred Lord Tennyson, and Julia Margaret Cameron.

Table of Contents

Forward, by Catharine R. Stimpson
Introduction: The Queen’s Agency
1. Queen Victoria’s Sovereign Obedience
"The Queen Has No Equal": The Problem of a Female Monarchy
Privacy on Display: The Queen as Wife and Mother
The Queenly Courtship of Elizabeth Barrett
Photographic Realism’s Abject Queens
2. Queen Victoria’s Widowhood and the Making of Victorian Queens
The Invisible Queen
Domestic Queens: Miss Marjoribanks
Making Queens: "Of Queens’ Gardens" and the Alice Books
3. The Widow as Author and the Arts and Powers of Concealment
Bagehot’s The English Constitution
The Queen’s Books: The Early Years of His Royal Highness the Prince Consort
The Queen’s Books: Leaves from the Journal of Our Life in the Highlands
The Reform Bill and the Queen’s Footnotes
4. Queen Victoria’s Memorial Arts
Albert Memorials
Tennyson’s Idylls of the King as an Albert Memorial
Cameron’s Photographic Idylls: Allegorical Realism and Memorial Art
Epilogue: Empire of Grief

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