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Jane Morris

The Burden of History

Wendy Parkins

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A scholarly monograph devoted to Jane Morris, an icon of Victorian art whose face continues to grace a range of Pre-Raphaelite merchandise

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Introduction: Life & Letters
I. ‘Is it not too daring and altogether too inexplicable?’: Gossip, anecdote & biography
II. Suet & strawberries: Life writing & habitus
Chapter 1. Scandal
I. ‘The lady I spoke about’: Jane & Gabriel
II. ‘In thy shut lips what secrets!’: Jane & Wilfrid
Chapter 2. Silence’
I. ‘What more can I say’: The reticence of Jane Morris
II. ‘Dear suffering Janey’: The myth of invalidism
Chapter 3. Class
I. Social mobility and ‘rather sad lives’
II. Politics and ‘talking in the usual Socialistic fashion’
Chapter 4. Icon
I. Wonder: ‘she haunts me still’
II. Celebrity: The style of ‘the famous Mrs Morris’
Chapter 5. Home
I. ‘So much love dearest’: Jane Morris at home
II. Si je puis: Jane Morris’s creative agency

About the Author

Wendy Parkins is Professor of Victorian Literature at the University of Kent, UK.


Parkins’ deeply original and lucid book advances current life-writing scholarship to show how theoretically informed critical readings of representations of Jane Morris can restore self and subjectivity to full historical complexity. It’s essential reading for scholars of the Victorian period with interests in ‘lives’ and their multiple locations and meanings.

- Professor David Amigoni, Keele University

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