© 2002

The Brother-Sister Culture in Nineteenth-Century Literature

From Austen to Woolf


Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-x
  2. Valerie Sanders
    Pages 1-10
  3. Valerie Sanders
    Pages 11-31
  4. Valerie Sanders
    Pages 32-56
  5. Valerie Sanders
    Pages 80-105
  6. Valerie Sanders
    Pages 106-129
  7. Valerie Sanders
    Pages 130-154
  8. Valerie Sanders
    Pages 180-185
  9. Back Matter
    Pages 186-223

About this book


This book argues that brother-sister relationships, idealized by the Romantics, intensified in nineteenth-century English domestic culture, and is a neglected key to understanding Victorian gender relations. Attracted by the apparent purity of the sibling bond, novelists and poets also acknowledged its innate ambivalence and instability, through conflicting patterns of sublimated devotion, revenge fantasy, and corrosive obsession. The final chapter shows how the brother-sister bond was permanently changed by the experience of the First World War.


English literature gender Jane Austen novel Romanticism Victorian era women Woolf

Authors and affiliations

  1. 1.University of HullUK

About the authors

VALERIE SANDERS is Professor of English Literature at the University of Hull. Previous publications include Reason Over Passion: Harriet Martineau and the Victorian Novel, The Private Lives of Victorian Women: Autobiography in 19th Century England and Eve's Renegades: Victorian Anti-Feminist Women Novelists. She has also edited Harriet Martineau: Selected Letters and Records of Girlhood: Nineteenth-Century Women's Childhoods.

Bibliographic information