Tag Archives: food

Shall Women Eat Food?

14 Aug

Women’s appetite was remarked upon in the mid nineteen-hundreds by The Lady’s Newspaper which stated that gluttony was not altogether a male sin:

[h]ow often have we beheld it in the Park carriages rolling by, containing enormous women, bursting with plethora, in whose rubicund countenances the awful signs of habitual hot luncheons appeared![2]

Yet, while it was possible for women to eat as much as men, appetite was gendered and in a woman, ought to be suppressed. Female corpulence was perceived to be disgusting and debilitating, as portrayed by The Lady’s Newspaper’s description of ‘the once slim and elegant Laura Matilda’ who now ‘sits in mute obesity, her perceptions dulled with satiety, and a sullen scorn upon her heavy lip’.[3] Women who ate large amounts were not only perceived to be mute, dull and sullen, they were also regarded as masculine, as illustrated in The Beth Book. Beth’s music-mistress is a ‘“great fat old thing”’ who ‘“likes eating”’. Her greediness is apparent to the pupils since meal times are a public display in which she ‘“gloats over things, and she’s quite put out if she doesn’t get exactly what she wants.”’ The mistress’ appetite is described in animalistic terms, as Rosa calls her a ‘“greedy old cat!”’, while her eating habits make her ‘“just like a man”’, earning her the nickname of ‘“Old Tom.”’[4]

While eating large quantities was considered a masculine trait, an 1889 publication of Fun took the issue even further in an article entitled ‘“Shall Women Eat Food?”’ where it is questioned whether women should consume at all. In this debate, consumption is deemed ‘strange and abnormal’ for the ‘fair, delicate, refined woman’. Eating is associated with robustness and coarseness, characteristics which the Victorian woman should not display. It was so much the norm to follow this etiquette, however, that the author of this piece does not fear that women will display signs of hunger since there is:

a pure sweet instinct born in the feminine breast which shuns with horror and loathing the coarse and the repulsive, and we may trust to that instinct to teach woman that to eat is not her province.[5]

Since it is ‘not her province’ to eat food, there is a prescribed amount that women must eat and a way in which meals should be eaten. The author assures the reader that ‘we need not look forward to a calamitous day when our mothers, sisters and wives will tear, rend and devour sustenance voluntarily descending to the level of the wolf and hyena.’ The animalistic language of this article portrays the appetitive female as a carnivorous beast, something that readers would certainly wish to avoid. It is also made clear that a woman who eats more than she should will not only risk ‘degrading [her] own sweet nature’, but also ‘lose the affection and respect of her husband’ and alienate herself from ‘the trust, affection and respect of men.’[6] The undignified aspect of the female appetite is repeated in a conduct manual written in 1838 by a mother to her daughter, wherein she writes ‘[n]othing can be more degrading to a rational being, than to be the slave of an appetite’.[7] Once more, appetite is associated with an irrational, animalistic state. Self-control over bodily desire is thus designated as a rational quality that will gain the respect of the social order.

Continuing the view that a display of appetite is an act of degradation, eating often necessitates conduct that may be considered unsuitable for public sight. In Elizabeth Gaskell’s Cranford, Mary Smith speaks of the ‘curious proceeding’ involved in eating oranges. Cutting the orange is not an option for the women of Cranford since the juice runs out ‘nobody knew where’.[8] This uncontrollable juice represents the insatiable female appetite that might be betrayed at any moment, should there be a failure of dining etiquette. Consuming an orange proves difficult since it is impolite to suck, the maternal and sexual image that it provokes being inappropriate for public view: ‘sucking…was in fact the only way of enjoying oranges; but then there was the unpleasant association with a ceremony frequently gone through by little babies.’[9]  The only option left for the Cranford ladies is to ‘withdraw to the privacy of their own rooms, to indulge in sucking oranges’,[10] suggesting an almost masturbatory pleasure, a secret guilty process to eating.

Consumption was also problematic because it called attention to unpleasant bodily functions such as digestion and defecation. The vulgarity of appetite is portrayed in Wives and Daughters wherein the hour at which people are invited to dinner is of utmost important:

How ask people to tea at six, who dined at that hour? How, when they refused cake and sandwiches at half-past eight, how induce other people who were really hungry to commit a vulgarity before those calm and scornful eyes?[11]

In order to avoid the scornful eyes of fellow diners, women eat prior to a public meal, thus creating the appearance that they are not hungry. Women thus trained their appetites so that they did not exhibit signs of hunger, especially in public. In The Ladies’ Treasury (1869), one gentleman writes that women ‘wish to appear in the eyes of their male admirers as light, ethereal, angelic creatures, who are scarcely subject to the vulgar necessities of hunger.’[12] In ‘A Story, by Mrs. C.L. Balfour’ in The Lady’s Newspaper (1861), one character remarks that ‘“I am like some delicate ladies, who make a good dinner at luncheon, and then have an opportunity of etherealizing at the dinner-table”’[13] If a woman does not eat at all at the dinner table, however, it raises suspicion of secret binges prior to the meal:

[w]e do not like to see a young lady ignore our food, or turn from the proffered wing of chicken, albeit with an air of the prettiest disgust. That always, to us at least, engenders suspicion of previous banquets, of surreptitious luncheons, of forenoon indulgences in cakes and hot jelly, it may be with a flavour of maraschino. We see at once that there is a falsity in our sweet neighbour’s performance, that she is acting a part deliberately studied.[14]

Such a ‘false performance’ is given by Mrs Gibson in Wives and Daughters:

Then there was lunch, when everyone was merry and hungry, excepting the hostess, who was trying to train her middayappetite into the genteelest of all ways.[15]

Mrs Gibson wishes to avoid the ‘scornful eyes’ of her fellow diners, yet wants her guests to notice her small appetite and praise her feminine delicacy. Mrs Gibson thought that Dr Nicholls ‘would give her the proper civil amount of commiseration for her ailments, which every guest ought to bestow upon a hostess who complains of her delicacy of health.’[16] Yet, she is comically undone by the very man who she had hoped would call attention to her fragile health and refined appetite as the doctor sees through her façade, instead ‘recommending her to try the coarsest viands on the table; and, at last, he told her if she could not fancy the cold beef to try a little with pickled onions.[17]

Copyright © 2011 Victoria Fairclough

[1] ‘Food and Feeding’, Hearth and Home: An Illustrated Weekly Journal for Gentlewomen (London, England), issue 174, 13th Sept, 1894

[2] ‘The Fair Sex and their Diet’, The Lady’s Newspaper (London, England), 3rd Jan, 1857, iss 523

[3] ‘The Fair Sex and their Diet’, The Lady’s Newspaper (London, England), 3rd Jan, 1857, iss 523

[4] S. Grand, The Beth Book (London: Virago, 1980), p.288

[5] ‘Women, Tobacco, Food, Perpendicularity, and Other Matters’ Fun (London,England)23 Oct 1889 issue 1276

[6] ‘Women, Tobacco, Food, Perpendicularity, and Other Matters’ Fun (London,England)23 Oct 1889 issue 1276

[7] from ‘Female Excellence, or Hints to Daughters, by a mother for their use from the Time of Leaving School till their Settlement in Life’ (London, 1838) Bodleian Library, p.134 http://www.gender.amdigital.co.uk/contents/document-detail.aspx?sectionid=62 [accessed 6th March, 2009] (53)

[8] Cranford, p.26

[9] Cranford, p.26

[10] Cranford, p.26

[11] Gaskell, Wives and Daughters, p.462

[12] ‘The Wasp Waist’, The Ladies’ Treasury (London, England) 1st Nov, 1869, p.71

[13] ‘Tangle, A Story of Life’s Perplexities’ The Lady’s Newspaper London England 28th September 1861, p. 198, issue 770

[14] ‘The Fair Sex and their Diet’, The Lady’s Newspaper (London, England), 3rd Jan, 1857, iss 523

[15] Gaskell, Wives and Daughters, pp.340-1

[16] Gaskell, Wives and Daughters, pp.340-1

[17] Gaskell, Wives and Daughters, pp.340-1

Victorian Diet and Dining in Literature and Culture

8 Aug

Remember that to overfill a plate is as bad as to supply it too scantily (1891)

How to eat soup and what to do with a cherry-stone are weighty considerations when taken as the index of social status (1891)

To press her to eat or drink after she has declined, is an act of ill-breeding (1881)

The best diet for any one who desires to acquire plumpness is one composed of fish, eggs, milk, soups, vegetables…fruits, sweets (1893)

Advice to put on weight is to lie in bed in morning, warm bath, drink cocoa…have chocolate for breakfast (1893)

Dinner-parties are all very well for people who have plenty of  trained help and plenty of money at their disposal, but the majority of housekeepers cannot command these, and then dinner-parties are an effort, and it is very questionable whether in them “the game is worth the candle”  (Girls Own Paper, 1884)

It is usual at high tea for everything to be put on the table at once. Meat, sweets, fruit, whatever there is, are on the spot, and it is not unusual for wine to be at hand for gentlemen who are not partial to the more homely beverage (Girls Own Paper, 1884)

After fish and meat, one or two choice sweets are sufficient, and too many are suggestive of vulgarity (GOP, 1884)

The table was spread, as Elfride had suggested to her father, with the materials for the heterogenous meal called high tea—a class of refection welcome to all when away from men and towns, and particularly attractive to youthful palates. The table was prettily decked with winter flowers and leaves, amid which the eye was greeted by chops, chicken, pie, etc., and two huge pasties overhanging the sides of the dish with a cheerful aspect of abundance (A Pair of Blue Eyes)

Epicureanism in eating consists not in desiring far-fetched and expensive dainties, but food of ordinary kind converted by skill into delicacies appetising and healthful (Ladies Treasury, 1868)

It was considered “vulgar”…to give anything expensive, in the way of eatable or drinkable, at the evening entertainments. Wafer bread-and-butter and sponge-biscuits were all that the Honourable Mrs. Jamieson gave; and she was sister-in-law to the late Earl of Glenmire, although she did practise such “elegant economy” (Cranford)

The tea-tray was abundantly loaded. I was pleased to see it, I was so hungry; but I was afraid the ladies present might think it vulgarly heaped up. I know they would have done it in their own houses; but somehow the heaps disappeared here (Cranford)

I shouldn’t like to think of your father eating cheese; it’s such a strong-smelling, coarse kind of thing. We must get him a cook who can toss him up an omelette, or something elegant. Cheese is only fit for the kitchen (Wives and Daughters)

Ease, savoir faire, and good breeding are nowhere more indispensable than at the dinner table (1891)

The dinner hour will completely test the refinement, culture, and good breeding that the individual may possess (1891)

If soup comes first, and you do not desire it, you will simply say, “No, I thank you,” but make no comment; or you may take it and eat as little as you choose (1891)

The soup should be eaten with a medium-sized spoon, so slowly and carefully that you will drop none of it upon your person or the tablecloth (1891)

Select PhD Bibliography: Nineteenth Century, Women, Food, Hysteria (Criticism and Theory)

8 Aug

Adburgham, Alison, Shops and Shopping 1800-1914: Where, and in what Manner the Well-Dressed Englishwoman Bought her Clothes (London: George Allan and Unwin, 1989)

Adburgham, Alison, Shopping in Style: London from the Restoration to Edwardian Elegance (London: Thames and Hudson, 1979)

Adler, K. and M. Pointon, The Body Imaged: The Human Form and Visual Culture Since the Renaissance (Cambridge University Press, 1993)

Alexander, C., The Early Writings of Charlotte Bronte (Oxford: Blackwell, 1983)

Archimedes, S.M., Gendered Pathologies: The Female Body and Biomedical Discourse in the Nineteenth-Century English Novel (London: Routledge, 2005)

Auberbach, N., Women and the Demon: the Life of the Victorian Myth (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1982)

Barber, P., Vampires, Burial and Death. Folklore and Reality (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1988)

Beauvoir, S. de, The Second Sex, ed. by H.M. Parshley (London: Pan Books, 1988)

Bell, R.M., Holy Anorexia (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1985)

Bordo, S., Unbearable Weight: Feminism, Western Culture, and the Body (Berkeley, University of California Press, 1993)

Borickman, R. et al. (eds.), Corrupt Relations (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1971)

Beeton, I., Mrs Beeton’s Book of Household Management (1861 London: Chancellor Press, 1982)

Bliss, E.L. and C.H. Branch, Anorexia Nervosa: its History, Psychology and Biology (New York: Hoeber, 1960)

Branca, P., Silent Sisterhood, Middle-Class Women in the Victorian Home (London: Croom Helm, 1977)

Bronfen, E., Over Her Dead Body: Death, Femininity and the Aesthetic (Manchester, Manchester University Press, 1992)

Bronfen, E., The Knotted Subject: Hysteria and its Discontents (New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 1998)

Brook, B., Feminist Perspectives on the Body (London: Longman, 1999)

Bruch, H., The Golden Cage: The Enigma of Anorexia Nervosa (Cambridge MA: Harvard University Press, 1978)

Bruch, H., Eating Disorders: Obesity, Anorexia Nervosa and the Person Within (New York: Basic, 1973)

Brumberg, J.J., Fasting Girls: The Emergence of Anorexia Nervosa as a Modern Disease (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1988)

Butler, J. Gender Trouble: Feminism and the Subversion of Identity ­(London: Routledge, 1999)

Carter, R. B., On the Pathology and Treatment of Hysteria (London: John Church Hill, 1853)

Cixous, H. and C. Clément, The Newly Born Woman, trans. by B. Wing (London: I.B. Tauris, 1996)

Counihan, C.M., The Anthropology of Food and Body: Gender, Meaning, and Power (London: Routledge, 1999)

Curl, J.S., The Victorian Celebration of Death (Newton Abbot: David and Charles, 1972)

David-Ménard, M., Hysteria from Freud to Lacan: Body Language in Psychoanalysis, trans. by C. Porter (London: Cornell University Press, 1989)

Didi-Huberman, G., Invention of Hysteria: Charcot and the Photographic Iconography of the Salpêtrière, trans. by A. Hartz (London: The MIT Press, 2004)

Diprose, R., The Bodies of Women: Ethics, Embodiment and Sexual Difference (London: Routledge, 1994)

Djisktra, B., Idols of Perversity: Fantasies of Feminine Evil in Fin-De-Sicèle Culture (Oxford; New York: Oxford University Press, 1986)

Ectoff, N., Survival of the Prettiest: The Science of Beauty (New York: Random House, 2000)

Ehrenreich, B. and D. English, For Her Own Good: 150 Years of the Experts’ Advice to Women (New York: Anchor, 1978)

Ehrenreich, B. and D. English, Complaints and Disorders: The Sexual Politics of Sickness (New York: Old Westbury, 1973)

Fielding Blandford, G., Insanity and its Treatment (Philadelphia: Henry C. Lea, 1871)

Fisher, S., Body Image and Personality (New York: Dover Publications, 1968)

Flanders, Judith, Consuming Passions: Leisure and Pleasure in Victorian Britain (London: Harper Press, 2006)

Foucault, M., The History of Sexuality, Vol. 1, An Introduction, trans. by R. Hurley (Harmondsworth, U.K.: Penguin, 1981)

Foucault, M., Madness and Civilization: A History of Insanity in the Age of Reason, trans. by R. Howard (London: Routledge, 1997)

Frank, K., A Chainless Soul: A Life of Emily Brontë (New York: Ballantine Books, 1992)

Frude, N., Understanding Abnormal Psychology, (Oxford: Blackwell Publishers, 2000)

Gallagher, C. and T. Laqueur, The Making of the Modern Body: Sexuality and Society in the Nineteenth Century (Berkeley; Los Angeles; London: University of California Press, 1987)

Gaskell, E., The Life of Charlotte Bronte (London: The Penguin Group, 1985)

Gezari, Janet, Charlotte Bronte and Defensive Conduct: The Author and the Body at Risk (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1992)

Gilbert, S.M. and S. Gubar, The Madwoman in the Attic: The Woman Writer and the Nineteenth-Century Literary Imagination (New Haven andLondon: Yale Nota Bene, 2000)

Gilbert, S. and others, eds, Hysteria Beyond Freud (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1993)

Gleadle, K., British Women in the Nineteenth Century (Hampshire: Palgrave, 2001)

Glen, Heather, Charlotte Bronte: The Imagination in History (Oxford:OxfordUniversity Press, 2006)

Goodwin, S. and E. Bronfen, (eds.), Death and Representation (London: John Hopkins University Press, 1993)

Gordon, L., Charlotte Bronte: A Passionate Life (London: Vintage, 1995)

Gorham, D., The Victorian Girl and the Feminine Ideal (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1982)

Haley, B., The Healthy Body and Victorian Culture (Cambridge, Mass: Harvard University Press, 1978)

Heller, T. and P. Moran (eds.), Scenes of the Apple: Food and the Female Body in Nineteenth and Twentieth Century Women’s Writing (Albany, New York: State University of New York Press, 2003)

Hesse-Biber, S., Am I Thin Enough Yet?: The Cult of Thinness and the Commercialization of Identity (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1997)

Hoeveler, D.L., Gothic Feminism: The Professionalization of Gender from Charlotte Smith to the Brontës (Pennsylvania: The Pennsylvania State University Press, 1998)

Hollander, Anne, Seeing Through Clothes (New York: Viking, 1978)

Howe, E.G., Invisible Anatomy: a Study of Nerves, Hysteria and Sex (London: Faber, 1994)

Ingham, P., Dickens, Women and Language (London: Harvester Wheatsheaf, 1992)

Irigaray, L., Speculum of the Other Woman, trans. by G.C. Gill (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1985)

Irigaray, L., This Sex which is Not One, trans. by C. Porter (New York: Cornell University Press, 1985)

Jacobus, M., Reading Women: Essays in Feminist Criticism (New York: Columbia University Press, 1986)

Jalland, P., Death in the Victorian Family (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1996)

Jorden, E., ‘A Briefe Discourse of a Disease called the Suffocation of the Moether’, in M. MacDonald, ed., Witchcraft and Hysteria in Elizabethan London: Edward Jorden and the Mary Glover Case (London: Routledge, 1991)

Kahane, C., Hysteria, Narrative, and the Figure of the Speaking Woman 1850-1915 (London: The Johns Hopkins Press, 1995)

Kim, Jin-Ok, Charlotte Bronte and Female Desire (New York: Peter Lang Publishing Inc., 2003)

Klaits, J., Servants of Satan: The Age of the Witch Hunts (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, c1985)

Kristeva, J., ‘Revolution in Poetic Language’, in T. Moi, ed., The Kristeva Reader: Julia Kristeva (New York: Columbia University Press, 1986)

Kunzle, D., Fashion and Fetishism: A Social History of the Corset, Tight Lacing and Other Forms of Body Sculpture in the West (Totowa, NJ: Rowman and Littlefield, 1982)

Lane, A.J., ed., The Charlotte Perkins Gilman Reader (London: University Press of Virginia, 1999)

Laycock, T., An Essay on Hysteria (Philadelphia: Haswell Barrrington Haswell, 1840)

Ledger, S., The New Woman: Fiction and Feminism at the Fin de Siècle (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1997)

Lefkowitz, M.R., Heroines and Hysterics (London: Gerald Duckworth, 1981)

Logan, P.M., Nerves and Narratives: A Cultural History of Hysteria in Nineteenth-Century British Prose (Califonia: University of California Press, 1997)

Lorber, Judith Gender and the Social Construction of Illness (New York: Sage Publications, 1997)

Marcus, S., The Other Victorians: A Study of Sexuality and Pornography in Mid-Nineteenth Century England (London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1966)

Marcus, Sharon, Between Women: Friendship, Desire, and Marriage in Victorian England (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2007)

Mason, M., The Making of Victorian Sexuality (New York: Oxford University Press, 1994)

Maudsley, H., The Physiology and Pathology of the Mind (London: Macmillan, 1867)

Mazzoni, C., Saint Hysteria: Neurosis, Mysticism and Gender in European Culture (London: Cornell University Press, 1996)

Mennell, S., All Manners of Food: Eating and Taste in England and France from the Middle Ages to the Present, 2nd edition (Urbana and Chicago, University of Illinois Press, 1996)

Micale, M.S., Approaching Hysteria: Disease and its Interpretations (New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 1995)

Mill, J.S., On Liberty and Other Writings, ed. by S. Collini (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997)

Miller, A.H. and J.E. Adams (eds.), Sexualities in Victorian Britain (Bloomington and Indianapolis: Indiana University Press, 1996)

Mitchell, J., Mad Men and Medusas: Reclaiming Hysteria and the Effects of Sibling Relations on the Human Condition (London: The Penguin Group, 2000)

Moglen, H., Charlotte Brontë: The Self Conceived (New York: W.W. Norton, 1976)

Morgan, R., Women and Sexuality in the Novels of Thomas Hardy (London: Routledge, 1991)

Nasio, J.D., Hysteria from Freud to Lacan: The Splendid Child of Psychoanalysis (New York: The Other Press, 1999)

Nead, L., The Female Nude: Art, Obscenity, and Sexuality (London and New York: Routledge 1992)

Newton, S. M., Health, Art & Reason: Dress Reformers of the 19th Century (London: J. Murray, 1974)

Orbach, S., Fat is a Feminist Issue (London: The Random House Group, 2006)

Orbach, Susie, On Eating (London: Penguin Group, 2002)

Owen, A.R.G., Hysteria, Hypnosis and Healing: The Work of J.-M. Charcot (New York: Garrett Publications, 1971)

Parry-Jones, W.L., The Trade in Lunacy: A Study of Private Madhouses in England in the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries (London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1971)

Patnaik, E., ‘The Succulent Gender: Eat her softly’, in D. Bevan (ed.), Literary Gastronomy (Amsterdam: Rodopi, 1988)

Peterson M.J., The Medical Profession in Mid-Victorian London (Berkley: University of California Press, c1978)

Pointon, M., Naked Authority: The Body in Western Painting, 1830-1908 (Cambridge University Press, 1990)

Pullar, P., Consuming Passions: A History of English Food and Appetite (London: Hamilton, 1970)

Regan, S. (ed.), The Nineteenth-Century Novel: A Critical Reader (London: Routledge, 2001)

Reid, J.C., Dickens: Little Dorrit (Edward Arnold, 1967)

Reynolds, K. and N. Humble, Victorian Heroines: Representations of Femininity in Nineteenth-Century Literature and Art (London: Harvester Wheatsheaf, 1993)

Rothman, D.J., The Discovery of the Asylum: Social Order and Disorder in the New Republic (Boston: Little, Brown, 1971)

Sanders, Valerie, Records of Girlhood (Hampshire: Ashgate, 2000)

Schad, J., Dickens Refigured: Bodies, Desires and Other Histories (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1996)

Schmidt, U. and J. Treasure, Getting Better Bit(e) by Bit(e): A Survival Kit for Sufferers of Bulimia and Nervosa and Binge Eating Disorders (East Sussex: Psychology Press, 1993)

Schofield, A.T., Nerves in Disorder: A Plea for Rational Treatment (London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1903)

Schor, Hilary, Dickens and the Daughter of the House (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1999)

Scull, A., ed., Madhouses, Mad Doctors, and Madmen: The Social History of Psychiatry in the Victorian Era (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1981)

Sellers, S. (ed.), The Hélène Cixous Reader (London: Routledge, 1994)

Shattock, J., ed., Women and Literature in Britain 1800-1900 (Cambridge:CambridgeUniversity Press, 2001)

Shelston, A. (ed.), Charles Dickens: Dombey and Son and Little Dorrit (London: Macmillan Publishers, 1985)

Showalter, E., Hystories: Hysterical Epidemics and Modern Culture (London, Picador, 1997)

Showalter, E., The Female Malady: Women, Madness and English Culture 1830-1980 (London: Virago, 2004)

Showalter, E., Sexual Anarchy: Gender and Culture at the Fin de Sicèle (London: Virago, 1996)

Shuttleworth, S., Charlotte Brontë and Victorian Psychology (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1996)

Slater, M., Dickens and Women (London: Dent, 1983)

Small, Ian (ed.), The Aesthetes: A Sourcebook (London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1979)

Smith, A., The Victorian Nude: Sexuality, Morality and Art (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1996)

Sontag, S., Illness as Metaphor (New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1977)

Spark, M., The Bronte Letters (London: Macmillan 1966)

Steele, V., The Corset: A Cultural History (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2001)

Stuckard A.J. and E. Stellar (eds.), Eating and its Disorders (New York: Raven Press, 1984)

Suleiman, S.R. (ed.), The Female Body in Western Culture: Contemporary Perspectives (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1986)

Summers, L., Bound to Please: a History of the Victorian Corset (Oxford;New York: Berg, 2003)

Swindell, J., Victorian Writing and Working Women: The Other Side of Silence (Minneapolis: University of Minneapolis Press, 1985)

Thesander, M., N. Hills (trans.), The Feminine Ideal (London: Reaction Books, 1997)

Thompson, J.K., Exacting Beauty: Theory, Assessment, and Treatment of Body Image Disturbance (Washington, D.C.: American Psychological Association, 1999)

Todd, J., ed., Jane Austen: New Perspectives: Women and Literature (New York: Holmes and Meier, 1983)

Torgerson, B., Reading the Brontë Body (London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2005)

Vandereycken W. and R. van Deth, From Fasting Saints to Anorexic Girls: a History of Self Starvation (Continuum International Publishing Group, Athlone, 1996)

Veblen, T., Conspicuous Consumption (London: Penguin Books, 2005)

Veith, I., Hysteria: The History of a Disease (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1965)

Vicinus, M. (ed.), Suffer and Be Still: Women in the Victorian Age (London: Indiana University Press, 1980)

Walker Bynum, C., Holy Feast and Holy Fast: The Religious Significance of Food to Medieval Women (Berkeley, 1986)

Waters, C., Dickens and the Politics of the Family (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997)

Webster Goodwin, S. and E. Bronfen (eds.), Death and Representation (Baltimore and London: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1993)

Welton, D., The Body, Classic and Contemporary Readings (Massachusetts: Blackwell, 1999

West, R., Eating Disorders: Anorexia Nervosa and Bulimia Nervosa (London: Office of Health Economics, 1994)

Wheeler, M., Heaven, Hell, and the Victorians (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1994)

Wohl, A.S., ed., The Victorian Family: Structure and Stresses (London: Croom Helm, 1978)

Willett, C. and P. Cunnington, Handbook of English Costume in the Nineteenth Century (London: Faber, 1959)

Wiltshire, J., Jane Austen and the Body: The Picture of Health (Cambridge; New York: Cambridge University Press, 1992)

Wolf, N., The Beauty Myth: How Images of Beauty are Used Against Women (London: Vintage, 1991)

Wollstonecraft, M., The Vindications: The Rights of Men The Rights of Woman (Essex: Broadview Press, 1997)