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  • Published: 3 Aug 2016
  • DOI: 10.4324/9781138641839-HOF10-1


  • Abstract
  • Essay
  • ReferencesBibliography for further readingFoundational studiesLangham Place Group and the Married Women’s Property ActThe Daily Telegraph and MarriageRhoda Broughton and sexologyThe New Woman and AestheticismInternational New Women

The Victorian New Woman


In looking at the British New Woman of the late nineteenth century, this essay explores the complex and vibrant history of the cultural figure and her appearance in literary culture of the day. The term was first popularized in the mainstream press via an 1894 exchange between Sarah Grand and Ouida. Throughout the 1890s, the New Woman served as a way for writers to work through changing attitudes towards women’s role in marriage, their sexual health, and their access to professional work, including literary work within the aesthetic movement. In addressing these issues, the New Woman was also a global figure, illustrating the complicated relationship between gender politics and British imperialism.