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Cruelty and Companionship

Cruelty and Companionship is an account of the intimate but darker side of marriage in Victorian and Edwardian England. Hammerton draws upon previously unpublished material from the records of the divorce court and magistrates' courts to challenge many popular views about family patterns. His findings open a rare window on the sexual politics of everyday life and the routine tensions which conditioned marriage in middle- and working-class families. Using contemporary evidence ranging from prescriptive texts and public debate to autobiography and fiction, Hammerton examines the intense public scrutiny which accompanied the routine exposure of marital breakdown, and charts a growing critique of men's behavior in marriage which increasingly demanded regulation and reform. The resulting critical discourse, ranging from paternalist to feminist, casts new light on the origins and trajectory of nineteenth-century feminism, legal change, and our understanding of the changing expression of masculinity. Cruelty and Companionship will appeal to students and teachers of nineteenth- and twentieth-century social history and gender studies. It should also interest students of family sociology and social work, and general readers interested in family relationships, domestic violence and women.
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Table of Contents

Section One: Working-Class Marriage 1. The Targets of 'Rough Music': Respectability and Domestic Violence 2. 'Rough Usage' Section Two: Middle-Class Marriage 3. Companionate Marriage and the Challenge to Patriarchy 4. Cruelty and Divorce 5. The Adaptation of Patriarchy in Late-Victorian Marriage Conclusion


..."brings a rich and important study to a wider audience. ...helps to set the agenda for further studies of this important topic." -"Social History ..."(an) earnest and energetic study...." -"Choice "This original, imaginative and important book brings together concerns about gender, the family and wider currents in British social, cultural and even political experience in the second half of the the nineteenth century." -Leonore Davidoff, University of Essex "An admirable project, with many features that immediately put it in a different class . . . fascinatingly subtle." -"London Review of Books "A stimulating, critical and cogent contribution to an important debate." -"History

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