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Wilson wrote:

“Women in the nineteenth-century city were the bearers of much of the anxiety surrounding city life in general. The female body represented the private in public space. The enormous nineteenth-century preoccupation with prostitution suggests at some level a woman in public – a public woman (as prostitutes were called) – was for the Victorians a living representation of sexuality, and should therefore have been hidden. Women were their bodies; and whereas a feminine body was seemly and appropriate in a rural landscape – since women were closer to Nature anyway – a woman in the public spaces of the city was a threat and a danger. She should not be there; she polluted public space.” (pp. 10-11)

 

 

 

 

 

 

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She further links this to her public/private discussion quoting Franco Moretti:

“The great novelty of urban life . . . does not consist in having thrown the people into the street, but in having raked them up and shut them into offices and houses. It does not consist of having intensified the public dimension, but in having invented the private one – and especially in having transferred the meaning of individual life . . . into this new domain.” (cited in Brettle & Rice, 1994, p. 11)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

img1076259976 (A school-day outside a private girls college in the city. All gates were locked, preventing both entry, and exit. Is this protection, or containment – a fort, or a prison?)

 

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Bibliography