Queen Victoria: Gender and Empire

ISBN : 9780190250003

Susan Kingsley Kent
232 Pages
127 x 203 mm
Pub date
Sep 2015
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Part of The World in A Life series, this brief, inexpensive text provides insight into the life of Queen Victoria. As one of the longest reigning monarchs in British history, Queen Victoria gave her name to an age filled with enormous possibilities and perplexing contradictions. At the time of Victoria's birth, Britain ruled over what was fast becoming the greatest empire in the world, containing millions of non-white, non-Christian peoples. During her childhood and youth, the kingdom itself became transformed from one dominated by landed aristocrats to one governed according to the principles of bourgeois liberalism. The royal family served as the most visible symbol of domesticity, while at the same time Victoria's very position as queen defied the ideology of separate spheres upon which domesticity rested. Victoria, the ruler of millions of people, opposed women participating in politics or public life. She believed women's suffrage to be a "wicked folly" and a violation of God's laws. She never gave up that belief, even as the fledging feminist movement of mid-century matured and grew to the size of a mass movement by the end of the century. And yet she reigned, with little thought of the contradictions that entailed. We live in a global age where big concepts like "globalization" often tempt us to forget the personal side of the past. The titles in The World in A Life series aim to revive these meaningful lives. Each one shows us what it was like to live on a world historical stage. Brief, inexpensive, and thematic, each book can be read in a week, fit within a wide range of curricula, and shed insight into a particular place or time. Four to six short primary sources at the end of each volume sharpen the reader's view of an individual's impact on world history.


List of Illustrations
List of Maps
About the Author
Chapter 1: Childhood, 1819-1837: Transition to a New Social and Political Order
Chapter 2: Queen, Wife, Mother: Separate Sphere Ideology and the Paradox of Female Monarchy, 1840-61
Chapter 3: Co-Rulers, 1842-1861: Changing Ideologies of Gender and Race
Chapter 4: The Widowed Queen, 1861-72
Chapter 5: Re-Emergence, 1873-1887: New Imperialism and New Challenges to Separate Spheres
Chapter 6: The Height of Victoria's Reign, 1887-1901: Gender, Jubilees, and Colonial Wars
Chapter 7: The Legacy of the Late Queen
Primary Source Excerpts and Study Questions
Further Reading

About the author: 

Susan Kingsley Kent is Professor of History at the University of Colorado Boulder.

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