Victorian Rights

Teaching / Society / Culture /

Jan and I watched Effie Gray last night: John Ruskin and family’s abused bride. Even the servants, seeing the lay of the land, abuse her. Effie wants to be a good Ruskin wife, n body gives her a chance: they like it that she’s pretty, angelic-looking, models clothes well: she has high social status, but no human status.

I fell in love with John Ruskin in grad school, early 1960s, trying to cram my neglect of the Victorians into a semester or two of catchup. I’ll string some notes here, then develop, then edit.

First, summary: women’s rights — wives’ rights — weren’t the Victorians only areas of neglect.

Did you see Harold & Maude? A school the kid is applying to sends a questionaire, trying to get to know the kid: mother fills out the answeers, never consults the kid himself: that’s Effie Gray exactly. Her life is assigned to her, no one cares what her real reactions are.

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About pk

Seems to me that some modicum of honesty is requisite to intelligence. If we look in the mirror and see not kleptocrats but Christians, we’re still in the same old trouble.
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