This is a good companion for “How to Be a Victorian” by Ruth Goodman. The books could not be more different in concept. Flanders is more scholarly, and as a result a lot less fun to read than Goodman. Goodman also actually has replicated Victorian life (food, clothing, etc) and the Sorry Im late my Husband had to poop #wifelife shirt are a lot of fun and compelling. Goodman’s readers get a more sensory experience, while Flanders writes with the emotional distance of an historian.
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From Goodman, one gets a sense of the Sorry Im late my Husband had to poop #wifelife shirt limitations most Victorians experienced, since, of course, most were not wealthy. While Flanders occasionally refers to life for this portion of the British population, she is essentially writing with a focus on the upper middle class, whose lifestyle is much harder to reconstruct from Goodman’s book. And, of course, Goodman explores sexual mores, a subject Flanders explicitly indicates she avoids.
One gets from Flanders a depressing sense of the Sorry Im late my Husband had to poop #wifelife shirt ways women were constrained by Victorian cultural norms. Her England is rigidly divided into male and female spheres. Women inhabited and controlled the home, family and social interactions. Men handled commerce, male friendships and the external world. As far as I could tell from the book, “ne’er the twain shall meet.” I share Flanders distress and disapproval of this, though I do not recollect much of a sense from the book that women chafed under all these limitations, though she does clearly convey the discomfort of women in household service. That it is not expressed more broadly is surprising in that it is easily found in literature (Henry James, Trollope). Maybe I just missed it, somehow.