Sexual Science: The Victorian Construction of Womanhood

TitleSexual Science: The Victorian Construction of Womanhood
Publication TypeBook
Year of Publication1989
AuthorsRussett, Cynthia E.
Number of Pages245
PublisherHarvard University Press
City, CountryCambridge, MA
Abstract

One scarcely knows whether to laugh or cry. The spectacle presented in Cynthia Russett’s splendid book of nineteenth-century white male scientists and thinkers earnestly trying to prove women inferior to men—thereby providing, along with “savages” and “idiots,” an evolutionary buffer between men and animals—is by turns appalling, amusing, and saddening. Surveying the work of real scientists as well as the products of more dubious minds, Russett has produced a learned yet immensely enjoyable chapter in the annals of human folly. No other work has treated this provocative topic so completely, nor have the various scientific theories used to marshal evidence of women’s inferiority been so thoroughly delineated and debunked. Erudite enough for scholars in the history of science, intellectual history, and the history of women, this book with its stylish presentation will also attract a large nonspecialist audience.

(Harvard University Press)

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