Consuming Angels: Advertising and Victorian Women by Lori Anne Loeb

By Lori Anne Loeb

Timid and retiring, the Victorian housewife was once an "angel within the house," or so says the stereotype. but if this angel picked up a favored magazine--The girl, for instance--she observed in its ads photos of Grecian goddesses, girls warriors, queens, actresses, adventurers. those arrestingly sexual and strangely strong photographs are the topic of eating Angels, an immense exam of ways Victorian advertisements formed social values. Stylishly written and that includes seventy three reproductions, this ebook indicates how advertisements used the hedonistic features of Victorian tradition to promote their wares, glorified consumerism, and mythologized the middle-class lifestyles. photos of competitive ladies, Loeb indicates, performed good to either women and men. And eventually, those advertisements helped herald the 20th century with the construction of a brand new neighborhood: the neighborhood of shoppers.

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The middle rank of society in Great Britain,"22 openly commends the rural life. 23 The ideals of countryside and home seemed complementary. The rural life promised happiness. The village evoked timeless virtues—unity, tradition, solidity, the myth of Old England. Both became essential constructs of the English national identity,24 which persisted long after the popularity of Mrs. 25 The image of the dependable worker and his devoted wife fused concepts of home and country. , The Sinews of Old England), the Serjeant advertisement enshrines a timeless simplicity and virtue that transcends class.

In style and in subject advertisers copy the painterly conventions established by Frederic Leighton (1830-1896) and popularized by Alma-Tadema (1836-1892), artists who intended to construct a view of the antique world in which the aspiring middle class could see themselves reflected. The Alma-Tadema school especially favoured sleepy, sexy beauties. Advertisers provided their own variations. 59 36 Consuming Angels Figure 2-8. Osier China and Glass, Illustrated Sporting and Dramatic News, 1890. ) Arms immodestly bared, breasts emphasized by the bodice of her costume, she appears lost in reverie, languid, even indolent.

While the Victorian understanding of progress was not simply material, the material component of the definition was clearly immediate and imposing. Indeed, in 1851 the famous Great Exhibition of the Arts and Industry of All Nations seemed to celebrate a peculiarly material form of progress. Contemporaries were unreserved in their admiration for the accomplishments that the exhibit represented. Tennyson wrote, . . lo! the giant aisles Rich in model and design; Harvest-tool and husbandry, Loom and wheel and engineering, Secrets of the sullen mine, Steel and gold, and coal and wine, Fabric rough or fairy-fine .

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