Living reference work entry


This entry demonstrates how women writers imagined a range of museum and gallery spaces. The museum is variously depicted as a frightening and incomprehensible place, a bastion of progress, a utopia, a lovers’ meeting point, and an enabling space to dream, learn, and teach.

Women and the Imagination of Museums

In her comprehensive study, Kate Hill highlights the substantial contribution of women to nineteenth-century museums as donors, volunteers, housekeepers, educators, and patrons, significant players in what she describes as networked, “distributed” spaces (Hill 2016: 5). Focusing on women’s art writing, Hilary Fraser examines how women responded to European galleries by writing across a variety of genres including fiction, poetry, periodical articles, guidebooks, and catalogues (Fraser 2014). This entry takes fiction as its focus and demonstrates how women writers imagined a range of museum and gallery spaces. The museum is variously depicted as a frightening and...


Museums Fiction British Museum Great Exhibition Crystal Palace Charlotte Brontë George Eliot Amy Levy Edith Nesbit Vernon Lee Michael Field Maud Cruttwell Utopia Genre Gender Ekphrasis Eroticism Viewing Aesthetics 
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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.BirkbeckUniversity of LondonLondonUK

Section editors and affiliations

  • Emily Morris
    • 1
  1. 1.St. Thomas More CollegeUniversity of SaskatchewanSaskatoonCanada