Popular Novel-Reading, Sexuality, and the English Nation
"A timely book and one that is going to make a significant and original contribution to current thinking about nineteenth-century British literary studies and the methodology of cultural studies."—Peter Melville Logan, University of Alabama
"Reproductive Urges is a truly impressive contribution to Victorian studies and the study of the novel. Levy brings together a broad knowledge of eighteenth- and nineteenth-century culture, engagement with the central theoretical texts of cultural studies, and a gift for reading literary texts as historical agents in their own right. The result is an often breathtaking history of the idea of 'reproduction' in bourgeois culture."—Kathy Alexis Psomiades, University of Notre Dame
"A demanding but rewarding contribution to cultural studies."—Choice
Reproductive Urges challenges traditional and Marxist accounts of the oppositional relationship between "production" and "reproduction" by focusing on "reproduction" as one of the most widely used and highly contested concepts in modern culture. Although it appears to refer only to the most obvious of biological facts, Anita Levy contends that "reproduction" includes a diverse field of cultural and social practices.
Levy looks to the writings of Charlotte Lennox, Jane Austen, Charlotte Brontë, Charles Dickens, Bram Stoker, and Oscar Wilde, among others, to explain both conceptual changes in notions of "reproduction," and the acute anxiety about controlling it still dominant in contemporary debates concerning the individual, the family, and sexuality.
Anita Levy teaches English at the University of Rochester and is the author of Other Women: The Writing of Class, Race, and Gender, 1832-1898.